7 Butters in a Tent ~ Part I

An old camping trip with my sister and brothers...being eaten alive by bugs! (My other brother is taking the picture.)

An old camping trip with my sister and brothers…being eaten alive by bugs! (My other brother is taking the picture.)

So we’re going camping this weekend.


As in “sleeping-in-a-tent-by-the-light-of-the-moon” camping. This seemed like a good idea about 3 months ago when we signed up, now I’m starting to see my life flash before my eyes. We’re not typically campers. And by that, I mean that we don’t camp. At all. Ever. Even my husband (who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, and who I’m pretty sure could climb Mt. Everest with no training while wearing shorts and flip flops) has never camped. The only one of us in the entire family who has ever slept outside in a tent is me. Me. And that was way back in the day when all I had to do to prepare for camping was to grab my pillow, get in the back seat of the car, and complain about the long drive. I grew up camping. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Until one fateful weekend when my sister and brothers and I were all in our 20s and we decided to drive up to the mountains and camp on our own. We grabbed the old tent, a few sleeping bags, packed some snacks, and we were off. Big mistake. Holy crap, did it suck! It will forever be remembered as the camping trip that made us all hate camping (and wonder why we ever liked it to begin with.) First of all, who the hell can light a campfire? Not us, obviously. And omigod, there were SO many bugs! Like zillions and zillions of flying insects swarming around our heads at all times. It was awful and gross and inescapable. And then there were the chipmunks. I do not know WHAT happened in the years between then and now, but these chipmunks had balls of steel. In the old days we would sit there for hours trying to coax one of those cute little rodents to take a peanut out of our hands. Not anymore. These new and improved chipmunks were coming right up onto our picnic table as we were eating. Right up onto it! And they would actually take the food right off our plates. I tried to shoo one away and I swear I saw it give me the finger. We spent the better part of that first day running around the campsite screaming in horror. Needless to say, we had booked that campsite for the whole weekend and within 24 hours we were packed up and heading back to civilization.

And that was it…until now. Now there is a chance that I am voluntarily dipping my toe back into the pool of camping hell.

This time, I am not just unprepared…I am WOEFULLY unprepared. We borrowed a tent and a few air mattresses, but other than that we are pretty much screwed.

In the interest of full disclosure, however, the camping trip this weekend sounds like it is going to be perfectly fab. There are over 50 families from our town going, and that includes almost every single one of my amazingly awesome neighbors. Plus, from what I hear we are right down the street from a liquor store, so at least there’s that. It does kind of seem like this weekend almost has no way of NOT being awesome. I’m being cautiously optimistic. But still… 7 Butters in a tent? I don’t know how any good can come of that. I’ll keep you posted…


The Making of a Mad-Woman

I have for you here a perfect recipe.

A recipe so perfect that, when followed precisely, will transform you from a normal, well-adjusted, mentally-sound person into an absolute raving lunatic. A lunatic who says such things as, “Because I said so!” and “I’m a grown-up so I’ve earned the right to swear.” A Mad-woman.


Here we go:

A Recipe for Disaster

In a large bowl, add the following ingredients:

1 potentially historic blizzard

1 kinda sorta blizzard (depends on who you talk to)

2-3 major snow storms

6  “no school” calls from the Superintendent

2 big handfuls of below zero temps

Mix the above ingredients together with a dash of cabin fever, a little bit of “she won’t stop breathing on me”, and cup of “if you need me I’ll be outside shoveling off the roof.” Cover the bowl with an ill-timed February vacation, and set aside.


In a separate bowl, combine the following ingredients:

(NOTE: these ingredients are to be handled with care. They are highly explosive and have a way of getting under your skin. You must resist the urge to run away screaming when faced with these ingredients. Stand your ground.)

One 11-year-old boy who takes a break from his computer and his phone only long enough to aggravate each of his siblings to the point of tears

One 9-year-old boy who decides to get sick the Sunday night before the first Monday the kids have been in school in a month. You thought you were going to get a break at last. You thought wrong.

One 7-year-old boy whose favorite phrase is “I know you are, but what am I?” (Which for some reason drives the 9-year-old crazy.) *Don’t do the whole “I am rubber you are glue…” thing. It won’t help.

One 5-year-old girl who said no to the only bagel in the house FIVE times when you asked her if she wanted a bagel with cream cheese for lunch. Five times you asked. Five. All five times she said “No” like you were some sort of crazy person offering her a worm sandwich. So you offered the bagel to her brother and he said “Yes” like you were Willy Wonka offering him the golden ticket. Which prompted the 5-year-old to suddenly decide that yes, in fact she does want the bagel and cream cheese after all. In fact she wants it more than she’s ever wanted anything ever before in her whole entire life.

One 3-year-old girl pitching a major fit, screaming and crying because you flushed her poop before she could show it to her brothers.

poop show and tell meltdown

Now here is where it gets tricky. You need to combine the ingredients from both bowls into one big massive bowl. The key is to add them in the right amounts at the right time. Add them too slowly and you run the risk of being able to handle it all easy breezy. Add them too quickly and you’ll become a mental-case waaay too fast, which is no good. You’ve got a rep to protect. So easy does it. You’ll know you have it correct because you will feel yourself s-l-o-w-l-y losing your mind. Little by little losing your grip on the “normal you” whose kids used to go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays.

When you start fantasizing about being trapped alone in an elevator you will know that you have followed the Recipe for Disaster perfectly and you are now officially a Mad-Woman.


It’s Just a 20 Dollar Piece of Crap

the bear

I just spent 20 bucks on the world’s crappiest stuffed animal. It’s gross. A gross stuffed bear made of gross material and stuffed with (highly flammable?) gross stuffing. I shouldn’t even know what the inside stuffing looks like because, well, it’s supposed to be on the INSIDE. But it’s not. It’s coming out thru the shoddy stitching around the neck. We’ve only had the thing for 30 minutes and its practically disintegrating in my daughter’s hands. And, ugh, she’s all jazzed up to sleep next to the nasty thing. She keeps kissing it! (Don’t put it near your mouth!) I’m just biding my time over here, waiting for her to turn her head so I can huck the offending stuffed animal into the trash. Oh, and I’m pretty sure this thing was made in a sweat shop. So now my $20 has gone to support a back alley sweat shop in the dredges of some third world country where women have no rights. I’m not down with that. So how did we end up with a highly flammable, piece of crap, stuffed bear in our possession? Two words:

Claw Machine

That’s right. We were away with the kids, and in the hotel there was an arcade. You can pretty much walk into any family-friendly hotel in the entire world and there will be a dreaded, money-sucking arcade somewhere in the building. And, of course, in any respectable money-sucking arcade there will always be at least one claw machine sitting there just waiting to torture some poor sucker. I hate claw machines. My kids love them. I seriously think they should be against the law since they are basically just a big racket. My kids think they are the best invention since the dawn of time. I may be a dreamer about a lot of things. But when it comes to the claw machine I am a realist. A very mean realist.

Me: You’re not going to win anything.

Them: Yes I am. I want to win that stuffed animal right there (pointing to the gross stuffed animal jammed under 3 layers of other gross stuffed animals.)

Me: I know you WANT to win it…but you’re not GOING to win it. There’s no way for the claw to get that far down. And even if it does get that far down, it won’t be able to pick up that toy. You’re not going to win anything. You’re just not.

Them: Yes, I am. Can I have a dollar?

Me: I hate to be a dream-crusher, but it’s rigged. I’ll give you a dollar, you can put it into the machine, move the claw around, and then drop it when you think it is over the toy you want. But you won’t win. As long as you know that going in, I’m fine with it.

Them: Okay, can I have a dollar?

Me: No crying and complaining after.

Them: Can I have a dollar?

Me: You’re not going to get that toy.

Them: Yup, can I have a dollar?

I handed over one of the two dollars she was allotted. She put it in the machine, strategically moved the claw, and pushed the red button. She was surprisingly shocked that the claw didn’t pick up and deliver the prize she wanted. She was also surprisingly confident that with her next (and “last”) dollar the bear would be hers. I handed it over (you’re not going to win) and she fed it into the machine. This time when the claw went down it actually grabbed the bear by the head and managed to lift it up an inch or two before dropping it. Huh, interesting. She wanted another dollar. I should have said no. But, I mean, she ALMOST had it the last time. One more dollar. That’s it. I mean it this time. I handed over the George Washington and we all gathered around. This time the claw picked up the bear and carried it almost all the way to the drop area. Almost ALL the way! I drank the Kool-aid. One more dollar. Another pick up, another drop…even closer to the drop area. This damn thing is rigged! (Can anyone break a $20?)  Time to call in the big guns: her 11 year old brother, Harry. Another dollar. Another drop. Another dollar. ANOTHER drop. So close. I’m all in now. Fully invested. I don’t even care what the cost is…we are getting that bear. That bear is ours. Maybe this time…nope. Maybe this time…nope. And then, just when I thought I’d be breaking another $20. The claw picked up that freaking bear and managed to hold onto it all the way to the drop area! No one was more surprised than me! WE WON! We won the bear! We won the bear! We won the… wait, ewwww, we won the bear. And I paid HOW much money to win it? 20  bucks? I paid 20 bucks for that piece of crap?

So even though we won, we lost. We are now stuck with an extremely expensive, totally gross, stuffed bear that I am going to have to sneak into the trash under the cover of darkness some night. Claw machines are like War Games (starring the great Matthew Broderick). The only way to win is not to play.

the bear we want 2          first grab

first drop         another drop

more money                big guns

we got it


The Formal Living Room


formal living room idea

When I was growing up I remember some of my friends having a living room in their house that no one was allowed to go in. The “formal living room”. I never understood it. Why have a room that no one is allowed to go in? The couches certainly didn’t look very comfortable. There was nothing out of place anywhere in the whole room. All surfaces were free of dust and debris. It was just a cold sterile room that was off limits. The entire house could have been falling down in mad shambles all around us, but this room remained pristine. I vowed that I would never have a room like that when I grew up because it made no sense. And then I had kids and it was like a lightbulb appeared over my head. Suddenly the ugly sterile formal living room was genius. It was the one room in the whole house that would actually stay neat and orderly no matter what. Sure the concept seems sound even before you have  kids, but its not until you actually have a house full of crazy children that you really “get” it.

Here are my top 10 things that really only make sense after you have kids.

1. Mad O’clock – Mad O’clock is a real time. It is the time shortly after the kids are supposed to be in bed but aren’t. The time when you are supposed to be able to sit down and unwind but you can’t. Its the time of night when a simple innocent question of “Mom, what is it like on the moon?” can send you into a murderous rage. Thankfully Mad O’clock doesn’t last forever. It conveniently ends just as the clock strikes Wine O’clock.

2. A Valid, Yet Seemingly Disgusting, Lunch – It’s totally normal to eat the leftover crust from four different sandwiches and call it lunch. Before you had kids this would have seemed gross and sort of mental. Now that you have kids you basically ARE gross and sort of mental… so this lunch choice fits right in with your new glamorous life.

3. Horizontal Parenting – Pre-kids, anything with the word “horizontal” in it made you all like “hubba hubba.” Now…just…well, no. Horizontal Parenting is when one parent tries to do all parenting from a position of comfortably lying down on the couch. There cannot be two parents in the same household attempting Horizontal Parenting at the same time. You have to take turns. Hint: it will almost never be your turn.

4. Back-to-Back Trips Thru the Drive-Thru -Without fail it always seem to happen that everyone in the car will get the same glorious prize in their Happy Meal…except for one of the them. One of them will get the crappy prize that was left over from the last round of prizes. And it is never the kid who can go with the flow who will get the rogue toy. Nope. It is the kid who is going to go absolutely ballistic for an hour about the injustice of it all. And so, even though the drive-thru option was supposed to be the faster option, its going to take twice as long because you have to turn around and go back, wait in line, get to the front, and explain to the 17-year-old working the drive-thru that they gave you four good prizes and one shitty prize.

5. Hiding While You Eat candy – Once you have kids you understand that hoarding and hiding candy is a normal thing to do. You really have no other choice. If the candy is anywhere accessible to the young-ins they will eat it all because they are crazy animals with no self-control. Unlike yourself. You are perfectly normal and in complete control of yourself. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to wait until they were all engrossed in a tv show to sneak off and hide in the mudroom closet while you quickly down a mini Snicker bar. See? Complete control.

6. Costco/BJs – Shopping at Costco or BJs or one of those other big warehouse stores is always a gamble because it requires you to buy things in bulk. Which is sometimes okay, if you’re buying things like toilet paper or paper towels or something. But I should caution you about buying snacks there. Your kids may appear to love Nutrigrain bars, and buying a bazllion-count box of them SEEMS like a good idea. But as soon as you have completed the transaction and money has exchanged hands and you’ve opened the huge box thereby rendering it unreturnable they will all decide that they hate Nutrigrain bars. Hate them. And you will be left trying to sneak them into their lunch bags for school hoping that they will be so hungry they will eat them out of desperation.

7. Talking About Sleep – This is a biggie so pay attention. You probably imagined that having a baby who is a good sleeper would be fantastic, right? Well you were correct, it is. You may have also believed that mentioning to someone that your baby is a good sleeper would be okay…but trust me it is NOT. Don’t do it. The minute you foolishly utter the words, “Oh, little Malaki is such a good sleeper! He’s been sleeping through the night since the day I took him home from the hospital.” little Malaki will never sleep through the night again. Like ever.

8. Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom Can Suck – Sometime before you had kids you and your significant other most likely had a talk about who would watch the children during the day. Would they go to daycare? Would you get a nanny? Would one of you stay home with the little cherubs? Maybe you two decided that for your family it would make the most sense that you would be a stay-at-home-mom. Joy! You couldn’t help but feel a little bad that you got to stay home (How exciting! You’ll get so much done around the house!) and he had to go to work. So there you are, popping out kids left and right when all of a sudden it dawns on you what you have actually agreed to: he GETS to go to work all day with other adults, and you HAVE to stay home with the kids. Cue the “whose life is harder” fights.

9. The TV as Babysitter – Now, of course I’m not talking about actually leaving your child home alone with just the TV and a package of raw cookie dough. I’m referring to the TV as more of a mother’s helper. For example, Sesame Street is awesome. You put it on and it’s like having a captivating babysitter who sings and teaches valuable social skills, and brings along its famous friends. And it gives you time to take a shower. Spongebob is a riot, and each episode lasts approx 15 minutes. Enough time to fold a load of laundry. Doc McStuffins is entertaining AND makes kids not afraid of the doctor. Which will come in handy when you take them all to get their flu shots later. TV is our friend. Our good friend. Sometimes our best friend.

10. Swearing In Front of the Kids – Yes, I know that before you had kids you were an expert in child development and you were all judgy like, “I’m never going to curse in front of my kids!”  And even when you had your first tiny sweet little baby, swearing in front of that little angel never even crossed your mind. Soon enough your loveable little nugget will turn 3, and you will be saying things like “Gosh darn it!” and “oh fudge!” But trust me, that doesn’t last for long…before you know it they will be old enough to drive you crazy and you’ll be swearing like a sailor. And I’m not talking just the “s” word or the “h” word. No…I’m talking about the mother of all swears: the “f” word. That’s right. You’ll be dropping the f-bomb like it’s going out of style. You won’t even care either. You thought you would care. Maybe you should care. But you just really won’t. Not one f’ing bit.



Well we’re driving in the car…


Did I ever tell you about the time I was in 6th grade and I wanted to get my hair cut short? I wanted it to look like Janet’s from Three’s Company. Janet. From Three’s Company. So I actually hand drew a picture of Janet and her pin straight, choppy, super short hair and brought it into the hairdresser. She was horrified (I couldn’t understand why.) She tried desperately to explain to me that I had curly hair and Janet had straight hair. The cut would look totally different on me. Totally. (She was nice enough not to get into the fact that out of all the tv stars to look like, why on earth had I picked JANET??) But I was insistent. Do it. Cut it. Make it choppy. I just knew that if she cut it correctly I would look SO cute! She knew that no matter how she cut it, I was going to look horrendous. But I insisted, so she did it. About three seconds after she was done cutting and styling my hair I ran out of the salon screaming and crying. I didn’t look like Janet. Not even a little. I looked like Larry…rocking a serious mullet. It was awful. Luckily when I went back to her 3 years later as a freshman in high school with the brilliant idea to get one half of my hair cut to the quick, while leaving the other half long, she absolutely refused.

I think it is safe to say that sometimes one or two of my awesome ideas are not always entirely awesome.

So last summer when I presented my husband with the great idea of piling our five kids into the car and driving all the way to the very very end of Cape Cod, and then basically make a u-turn and heading straight back… that should have raised some serious red flags. What I had suggested was basically a four-hour car ride from hell. If ever there was a time that I needed my hairdresser’s sensibilities, that was it. Even a half hour car ride with the kids can make me go bonkers. From soup to nuts it’s an exercise in torture. There are lots of reasons, but just to name a few:

Actually getting in the car Why is this so difficult? I’ve been telling them all day to go outside and play, and they have refused. But now as we are rushing out the door to get where we need to be they are running all over the yard frolicking to and fro’ as if they’ve just discovered the promise land. What is this glorious magical land you call the “outdoors”, and why have we never heard of it before?

Seatbelts It is a big surprise to some of them that they have to wear a seatbelt. I’m like, is your seatbelt on? And they seemed shocked and surprised as they look around for it. Come on people! It’s not a new invention that I just had installed the night before under the cover of darkness, and am now introducing for the first time. Behold: the seatbelt. The special apparatus that will hopefully keep you safe should I happen to crash the car while I am turned around yelling at you. The seatbelt is our friend. Now put the damn thing on.

Talking over the radio Oh my God! Don’t even get me started on all the annoyances that involve the radio in the car. “I’m just going to hone in on the MOST annoying one. And that is when I hear a Taylor Swift song that I like (and I like them all), so I turn it up and start singing, and then the girls launch into a big plan about who is going to sing what part. And then they are like, “Mom turn down the radio so we can figure it out.” and “Mom stop singing! That’s not your part!” By the time they have it all sorted out the song is over, and beg as they may, I can’t restart it because it is the radio. The RADIO. Not satellite radio. Not my iphone. But a good old fashioned radio that cannot be rewound.

Are we almost there? I don’t even need to expand on this one. We have literally not even left the neighborhood and some fool will ask if we are there yet. Seriously. And then each one of them will continue to ask at annoyingly close intervals until I turn around to tell them that if so much as hear one more peep from them there is going to be big trouble. Huge. I don’t know what that huge trouble is, but it will be awful. Then they all start peeping. Because that’s like wicked funny.

Backseat drivers My kids are little. They don’t drive. The oldest is about 5 years away from getting behind the wheel of a car. And yet, one of them (who shall remain nameless) is a backseat driver. “Mom, you’re going the wrong way.” “Why are you going so slow?” “Are we on a highway?” “Why aren’t we on a highway?” “Don’t go on the highway, I don’t like highways.” “You should go right” “Red means stop. Did you stop?” “Now you’re going really fast.” “Isn’t that the house we are going to?” NO! It is not the house that we are… oh wait…yes it is! Hold on everyone!

Talking to me while I’m ordering at the drive-thru While I’m ordering your special-order Happy Meal is NOT the time to remind me 50 times that you don’t want pickles on your cheeseburger. It’s just not. You already told me. I already acknowledged you. We have made a verbal contract that there are to be no pickles on your cheeseburger. But all the person at the drive-thru can hear is someone shouting pickles in the background instead of me asking for NO pickles. So you’re probably going to get extra pickles. Like tons of them. You have brought this upon yourself. Oh, and while we are on the subject… no one thinks it is funny when you roll down the back window and shout into the speaker that you want a Big Mac while I am at the DUNKIN DONUTS drive-thru ordering my life-saving coffee. I realize your siblings are high-fiving you and patting you on the back like you are a living legend. But I’m not amused. At all.

Getting out of the car Again, this seems like it should be a easy step in the traveling process. We are here. Get out. Exit the vehicle. Move it. But no, they want to sit there all cozy in their seats for some reason. For kids who have been basically complaining about being stuck in the car for so long you would think they would be running away as if the car were about to burst into flame.

That’s it. I can’t go on. I’m not even going to get into the mess, the fighting, the kid who thinks he might puke, everyone who has to pee at different times… I just can’t.



Extremely Important Life Lessons

My brain is crammed with information. Crammed. Sure, most of the information is completely useless and totally irrelevant outside the confines of my own mind. But still, sometimes it’s good to have access to a huge mass of utterly useless knowledge. I like to think of all this data as not just completely idiotic stuff that I have learned since having kids, but more like extremely important life lessons that my most brilliant children have bestowed upon me. For example:


1. It’s really sad when someone puts your blankie in the washing machine. Even if your blankie smelled like canned peas and could practically walk around the house by itself.

crying Jess


2. Your 11-year-old son may not be interested in this book, but his 5 year old sister will carry it around like it is the Holy Grail.



3. Giving a three-year-old a chocolate bar in the car is not a good idea. I repeat, it is NOT a good idea.

chocolate hands


4. Face paint isn’t just for faces. (Seriously, do know how hard it is to get face paint out of all the nooks and crannies of the human body?)

cooper facepaint


5. It’s fun to put a sticker on your cheek. It is NOT fun to take a sticker OFF your cheek.

jess sticker on cheek   jess sticker off cheek


6. Burying yourself up to your neck in the sand, while your peers stand around you with shovels, probably only SEEMS like a good idea.

Joey in the sand


7. When one son has another son in a sleeper choke hold it is a good time to take a picture.



8. If you can’t find a plate, you can always eat corn out of your hat.

corn in hat


9. Painter’s Tape + Boys = THIS  (Don’t feel bad for the taped child…it was his idea.)

taped up Joey


10. These two should never be allowed to dress themselves. Seriously. Like, EVER.

jessie outfit2    jess and cass clothes    football game outfit  first day of school cass  cassies clothes  Jess christening bib


11. Applying pink lipstick just outside your natural lip line (and on your nose, eye, and chin) will make your lips look fuller…



12. …if you don’t have pink lipstick handy, purple magic marker is perfectly acceptable.



And last but not least…

13. It’s very important to label your candles so you know what they smell like.

shit candle


So there you have it. Now my useless info is your useless info. You’re quite welcome!


The Best Thing


The best thing that happened to me in the days leading up to Christmas this year was getting pulled over by a state trooper. Seriously. That was the best thing. But not because everything else was somehow so bad that getting pulled over was awesome by comparison. Not at all. Everything was great. Fabulous. Spectacular even. At least…I think it was. I was kind of too busy to notice. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas blurred by and I was in fast motion trying to get everything done that I had convinced myself I needed to get done. I tried to enjoy the season when I could, in bits and spurts here and there. I was vaguely aware of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and pine cones and holly berries scattered about. And I did notice that even the street lights blinked a bright red and green…but that was about it. I wasn’t really enjoying it. I was just sort of watching it happen. At one point I even came to the conclusion that Christmas carols were annoying and that Charlie Brown was such a downer he could seriously use a solid six months on a strong anti-depressant. So the day before Christmas Eve as I was barreling down the road heading home from the mall with two of my kids in the car, the only things on my mind were all the things I still had to do. And then I got pulled over. The blue lights went on and I was like, shit! I’m getting pulled over! Ugh, I don’t have time for this! But, like it or not, I pulled my car over to the side of the road. It was a pretty typical pull-over as far as pull-overs go. She asked for my license and registration, and I handed them over. Then she walked back to her car and I sat there waiting to get arrested for murder. (I’ve never murdered anyone, by the way. But for some reason I always think that there will be some weird mistaken identity situation and I’ll be arrested for a murder I didn’t commit, Shawshank Redemption-style.) So as I’m sitting there mentally wondering if, before I’m cuffed and stuffed, she’ll let me make a phone call to my husband to come get the kids, or if they’ll instantly become wards of the state, and then wondering if I’ll get a jail cell to myself and if the bed will be comfortable enough for me to take a nap, and then thinking that taking a nap in a nice quiet cell sounds pretty great… she walked back to my car and told me why she had pulled me over: “You need to slow down.” (So, I won’t be napping in a jail cell, then?) She wasn’t all Mother Goose about it, of course. She wasn’t patting my hand and being all sweet like, “oh, honey, I know you are in a rush, but slow and steady wins the race, don’t ya know.” No. She pretty much told it to me straight, “You’re going too fast. You have kids in the car. There was a mac truck next to you. You need to slow down.” She was right of course. And she was nice enough not to give me a ticket for it, which I thanked her for. But I should have thanked her for more. This officer cared enough about me, enough about my kids, and enough about the other drivers on the road to pull me over and tell me to slow down. She had no way of knowing if I was a lunatic (I had just come from Christmas shopping at the mall after all). She had no way of knowing if she was going to get hit by an out of control car as she stood by my window on the side of the highway. She put her safety aside to ensure my safety. That’s huge. That’s amazing. I should have thanked her for that, but I didn’t. I regret that I didn’t. I hope that the next person did. That person up the road whose car had broken down and who I saw her pull over to help. I hope he thanked her for what she did, and for what she does every day to keep us safe. And as for me? Well, I slowed down. And sang Christmas carols (loudly, and off key) the whole ride home. (I still think Charlie Brown would benefit from some therapy, though.)