Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Morning of Zen

Tuesday morning I participated in my first ever yoga class. Apparently I was obvious about it. I set my mat down twice before settling on a spot near the door, and I peeled off my socks while inspecting the foux wood floor for visible signs of wart fungi. It was then that Kathy, the instructor, asked, "Is there anyone here who has never taken a yoga class before?" Everyone in the class seemed to know each other, so they all turned to me.

"This is my first class," I said, "unless you count the DVD Yoga for Dummies." The class responded with a chattering of amusement that blended with the sushi restaurant music playing in the background. Then we began.

As I crossed my ankles and rested the back of my hands on my knees, Kathy reminded us of the intentions of Yoga, and encouraged us to determine our own intentions that morning. "When you are holding a pose and finding difficulty in balance, what do you want to call to yourself? Later in your day, you might need that very same thing, and this is your preparation." I decided to call "grace" unto myself, thinking it a very multi-purpose word since it is used in both ballet and theology. I questioned whether it was too Judeo-Christian for 6:00 am yoga, but since we weren't sharing our words out loud, and since I was in the East Studio at the YMCA, I stuck to it.

I thought I was doing really well, but then the warm-up stretches concluded and I immediately screwed up the first pose: Downward Facing Dog. Kathy quickly came to my rescue. "Move your hands out further. Further. Further. Your legs are quite long. Further. Beautiful." I pictured a Pekingese forming a triangle with its hip alignment, balancing on all four paws. Then I called grace unto myself.

My mornings have always been a battle, and typically I emerge barely on-time, barely ready, never triumphant. I just haven't figured out how to successfully wake up. Occasionally I determine to read my Bible and pray first thing in the morning, but I'm so incoherent that I once opened my Bible only to realize that I was studying Merriam-Webster's dictionary. I can't read. I can't remember whether I've already shampooed my hair. But apparently I CAN imitate a disjointed Pekingese. And after pressing my ankle on its opposite knee and gradually bending that knee to a ninety degree angle, I could even pray. The last time Jesus and I had a good conversation in the morning was after I fell asleep at the wheel and woke up very grateful to be alive.

"Think about the things you are grateful for," Kathy said as we lay flat on our backs. Suddenly she was unfolding a blanket and stretching it over me. "You look cool," she said, and even though I didn't feel cool, the blanket felt nice. Under the blanket, with my palms turned up and my toes extended, I realized that I had just replaced my snooze-alarm routine with yoga. I had found my morning stride. I had found grace for the morning.

That is, I had found grace for Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6:00 - 7:00. As far as the rest of the week is concerned, I suppose I could try dunking my head in cold water or popping in Yoga for Dummies.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Even though we ain't got money...

Six months ago Pete and I would often say to ourselves, "We may have a tight budget, but at least we're not in debt!" It was a mantra, and like most mantras, it helped.

Then we borrowed money from parents to buy a car. I took a closer look at the loan that I had taken out for one semester of school. Pete had dental surgery sans dental insurance. Then he fell over playing frisbee, and after receiving the hospital bill, doctor's bill and radiologist's bill, we took a gander at our deductible. High.

Yesterday Pete found out that it's going to cost over four hundred dollars to register our car in Michigan. He came home and said, "I need you to say something nice. I'm discouraged about money." I thought about it a moment and then said, "At least only half of our debt is stuff that we're paying interest on." This mantra didn't end with an exclamation point like our last one did, so I don't think we'll be repeating it frequently or with the same level of snobbery.

I tried again. "Hey, listen. Either we'll pay off our debts, or we'll die first and it won't matter." I felt immediately depressed by this, but Pete seemed oddly consoled. "I never thought about it that way," he said.

"OR!" I said, "How about this: we don't have money, but I love you."

He smiled. "How about we just stop worrying about money and become hobos."

"How do you become a hobo?"

"Well," he sid, "You put some of your things in a sack, tie it to a stick, and then walk around."

"That sounds easy enough," I said. "Can we have a baby and strap it to our backs?"

"No, just us."

"Okay. Just us."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So Deep I Love You

Two minutes out of getting out of bed this morning, I clicked through my facebook notifications and saw a video from my brother's trip to Madagascar. So Deep I Love You is a terrific title to a video, so I clicked play and watched about twenty African teenagers swaying back and forth, singing and harmonizing to my brother's group.

So deep I love you
So deep I do
Because Jesus died and
He loves me and loves you
So deep I love you
So deep I do
Because you are so precious
In the eyes of the Lord

No matter what weakness has led you astray
No matter what sins you have made on the way
Jesus Christ the Lord
Died for the whole world
And rose again to give you the power to win

You are a winner!

Just like this: click, I'm watching my brothers and sisters in Africa singing songs of love to family from another continent. Even though I haven't met them, so deep I love them this morning. And even though they can be tools for lesser purposes, so much I appreciate airplanes and video cameras and internet this morning.

I cried instantaneously after starting this video; I slept so little last night that I had probably been doomed to cry over my cereal bowl. I'm grateful that I got to cry over this instead:

No matter what weakness has led you astray, no matter what sins you have made on the way... Jesus Christ the Lord died for the whole world, and rose again to give you the power to win. You are a winner!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Locked Out

If my month were a book and last week was a chapter, I would title it Locked Out.

It all started when my dear friend and boss stuffed my keys into her purse before heading to the U.P. for the weekend. I discovered their absence at 11:00 p.m. After a call to my husband (who had gone to bed 3 hours prior) and a call to the cab company, my evening ended at 12:15 when a friend picked me up from work.

The following day I lost the key to the house where I was staying for the week.

The next day I went to see a few apartments and three of the landlords had key problems. One had to call the previous tenant to ask them to come with their key; one broke into the top apartment to unlock the main floor. The third landlord said, "Huh. My key isn't working." I said, "I could have told you that hours ago."

That same day I called Matt to tell him that the church office key wasn't in it's usual spot. He said, "Yes it is, I saw it last night." I said, "I took everything out, and it's really really not." He said, "Well it's in there! Okay! Bye!" and hung up. (But he was the friend that picked me up from work at midnight, so we're not even a little irritated with him.)

I waited on my car for my friend to get home with the car opener (since I lost her only house key).

I waited on my car for my husband's boss to arrive with my house key (since mine was in my friend's purse).

I waited, I waited, I waited.

In frustrating moments like these, I like to comfort myself by weaving meaning into what seems pointless. I'm usually pretty good at it, too, so I was surprised to come up nearly blank. Oh, I dug up a few little analogies about doors and keys and knocking and opening and master keys and loose keys, etc., though nothing worth mentioning. Then I thought to myself,

"Self? Dearest. Perhaps you need to spend a little less time weaving meaning into your daily life, and a little more brain power remembering to put your KEYS in your PURSE when you get to work, rather than leaving them strewn about the office." Which turned out to be the mundane moral to last week's story.

Friday, May 29, 2009

If You are Bored

My mother is a woman of signs and labels. My childhood was mostly coordinated by postings throughout our house: labels on the foods we were allowed to eat, charts of our rotating chores and responsibilities, directions on how to sort laundry loads on the washing machine, sign-up sheets for household projects, and so on.

This week I was happy to see a new sign on the Towers refrigerator.

The goal of a Christian is not to be entertained, but to be busy at work for the Lord. Because God has blessed me with time this summer, here is a list of things I am going to do:

1. Read a list of books recommended by friends
2. Keep a journal
3. Plan a late fall vacation
4. Go camping with Pete
5. Get a head start on my fall classes by reading recommended books
6. Study the Word
7. Cook
8. Go berry picking; can preserves
9. Spend time developing friendships
10. Play guitar
11. Finish my little book about my first year of marriage
12. Memorize my list of Bible verses for the family competition

And perhaps:

13. Learn Hebrew, a la Rosetta Stone. I haven't committed to it yet, but I'm almost there.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Friday

7:00 pm on Good Friday found me in the church kitchen helping Glenda prepare communion. "We're only supposed to cut these pitas in half?" she asked. "Not smaller?"

"That's what Matt said," I shrugged. Matt walked appeared in the doorway, so I clarified his instructions. "You said in half, right?"

"Yes. Half."

Glenda: "Only half?"


"Maybe people are getting in groups and breaking from the same piece," I said to Glenda, who was halving whole-wheat pitas with one eyebrow raised, still dubious. But then I noticed the juice. Individual servings of juice in plastic, barrel-shaped containers were being carried in baskets to the auditorium.

The baskets were spread out under the cross on the stage, and the congregation was released to receive the elements. I selected a piece of whole-wheat Jesus, a barrel of his blood, and sat on the floor against the back wall.

When I was eight years old my mother explained the Eucharist. "We think of communion like a symbol," she said. "Catholics believe that the bread really turns into Jesus's body, and the juice really turns into his blood."

I noticed a potential concern. "Like, after you swallow it?" I asked. "Or while it's still in your mouth?" Jesus digesting in my stomach--perhaps. My childlike faith had accepted far greater mysteries. But Jesus stuck between my teeth? Jesus in my toothbrush that night? Mom said she was pretty sure that Catholics chewed the bread and digested the Jesus. But the next time I took communion I swallowed the juice-soaked bread whole, just in case.

Confession: I have ever since.

I'm pretty sure that the bread remains bread and the juice remains juice, not because I can't swallow the miraculous, but because Jesus is the Metaphor's biggest fan. "This is my body" and "this is my blood," he said. Your body is a temple, I am the vine, my sheep know my voice. I swallow the bread whole because purple, soggy bread isn't something I savor; I swallow it whole because it's difficult for me to metaphorically chow on my savior's flesh. The substantial carnivorous snack before me, however, was not going to go down in one gulp.

I broke off a piece of pita (his body, broken by me) and sipped the juice (his blood for my sins). I heard the tops of juice containers popping all around me and saw bread lifted to lips (his life in ours). When do the carbohydrates absorb into my blood stream? I wondered. And as always when I think about digestion or any other body function, I marveled at the complexity of it. Then I ate another bite, drank another drink, and marveled at the simplicity of it: Eat food. Live. This is my body, he said. This is my blood. I'm doing this. I'm remembering him.

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

I rarely eat breakfast on Sunday mornings before church, and when the small purple morsel hits my stomach, I'm reminded how hungry I am. I finished my pita and juice on Friday feeling full, my spirit satisfied with the bread of life.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hurricane hits Detroit

In an interview with Wood TV news on Tuesday, March 31st, Jennifer Granholm compared the Detroit auto crisis to a natural disaster. She did not use an appropriate simile: This crisis, like a tornado, formed under a specific set of conditions and then struck suddenly. Nor did she employ an corny metaphor: The tectonic plates of Michigan's economy have been shaken.

Granholm said that she is pushing for support of the auto companies and families, because "this is our Hurricane Katrina... so we need a response that is like that."

Katrina victims could empathize with Detroit families who have lost their jobs and homes. But in the interest of everyone involved, the governor shouldn't be drawing comparisons between foreclosed homeowners and rooftop survivors, between an unemployment rate and a death toll. And perhaps the government's response with helicopters, food and shelter (reportedly inadequate as it was) should look different than the government's response to a failing business and its employees.

This is the American automobile industry and these are struggling families; I hope the government can assist both where it should. But there are about 600 miles between Michigan and the ocean, which is roughly the same metaphoric distance between Michigan's economy at the tragedy of Katrina.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lifelong Sport

Every year I vacation on Hilton Head Island with Pete's family, and every morning on the Island we take a tennis class with a bunch of retirees. I can't think of any group more fun than old people with health and money. This year my favorite was Jim.

Jim is in his early 80's. He pumps his arms at a 90 degree angle, as if running a great speed, while shuffling his feet with a good-natured smile. Jim's hearing aid was out of whack this week; often the entire class had to join forces in getting his attention. Jim would forget about a fly ball long before it hit the ground, inevitably two inches from his feet. When it did hit the ground, his entire body would jerk in shock. Then he'd toss his hand and walk away as if to say, "Ah, I've made it this far."

Yesterday we practiced signals. I played opposite of Dick and Lennie. Our instructor, Rem, was on my team.

"Make the signal, acknowledge the signal, serve the ball," Rem told our opponents. Lennie made the signal behind his back to Dick, who acknowledged the signal and wound up to serve. "Wait!" said Lennie, who turned around to ask Dick a question, while keeping his "fake" signal in tact. Rem and I shared smiles at this senile moment, pretending to be oblivious. It was all the same because Lennie didn't fake once the ball was served. (a) Lennie didn't know what the "fake" sign meant, (b) Lennie forgot to fake, (c) Lennie is very clever.

At the end of class Rem reviewed signals. "This is stay," said Rem, making a fist. "This is move." He opened his palm flat. "And this," he said, making devil horns out of his pointer and pinkie, "Is fake."

"What's this?" Asked Jim, pointing his middle finger to the sky with a grin.

I have always heard that tennis is a game for life, but until I mentioned the sentiment to Dick, I didn't quite grasp its totality. We were sitting on a bench, me watching and him waiting to rotate in.

"Oh yeah," Dick said. "My wife and I have several friends whose spouses died on the court." He chuckled a little.

"Seriously? On the court? How?"

"Heart attacks, that sort of thing. One hit a return and then just fell over right there. Right there in the middle of a match." Dick seemed to think this was nearly hysterical, his friend hitting a ball and dropping dead before its return.

I don't understand how I'll play the same game at 80 that takes the breath out of my 22 year old lungs, but I like the thought. I'll play it differently, of course. Right now I swing my racket every which way and run cross-court to return. The old people I played with this week mostly hit what comes in their direction, strategically. They also mostly beat me.

Dick and I were still laughing over his friend. "I hope he made the point!" I said, and Dick slapped his knee a little in response, which I found charming. On the court, Jim's first serve his the net. He drew another ball from his pocket and tossed it above his head, his racket back and ready.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Messy Cars

Last week I decided to become a Clean Car Person. It's a lofty goal, as any stranger who has glanced at my backseat could tell you.

I know of four groups of Messy Car People. One group is the Just Plain Sloppy. The second group is Moms--women who used to keep clean cars before resigning themselves to a higher calling. The third group consists of Students and Small Apartment Dwellers.
Historically I have belonged to this third category. When I was going to school full-time and working at Olive Garden the rest of the time, my backseat served as a library/wardrobe. When I later moved into an apartment with a startling lack of closet space, I would actually bring items from the apartment to store in my car. Pete would ask, "Where are our photo albums?" and I would answer, "Left side of the trunk towards the back." (This is a lie. Pete never asks to look at our photo albums.)

The fourth and final group is Randy Peterkort. There may be others who have reached this sophisticated level of messiness, but he is the only one I have met in person. I once spent a road trip testing 75+ pens for ink and reading aloud from 25+ Indiana antique store pamphlets. In the end he reluctantly agreed to part with 30-some inkless pens and four pamphlets (duplicates). To reward my efforts I selected treats from his dashboard candy shop; to rejuvenate my intellect (dulled by the ink testing and and pamphlet reading) I studied the Constitution of the United States. Randy has a copy in the middle counsel, next to the Declaration of Independence and a back-stash of Tizzlers.

Now, I am not choosing to be a Clean Car Person because I think it is intrinsically better than being a Messy Car Person; on the contrary, I think there are many seasons in a person's life when it isn't logical to keep a clean car. It would have been inefficient to continuously stock and clear my car of books, aprons and ties. For what, a clean car while I slept? Cleanliness and organization only makes sense to the point that the efforts don't outweigh the benefits.
Moms and other busy people who keep a clean car may be serving their aesthetic visual preferences (which is right and fine), but they aren't necessarily more productive for doing so. And I can't think of any reason why being comfortable in order is better than being comfortable in mess. Just think of all the times you could have used the Declaration of Independence while driving! I can't think of any, so I appreciate your help illustrating my point.

The "cleaner is not intrinsically better" truth also applies to living rooms, closets, drawers and desks. The one exception is a clean kitchen, which is superior in every way to a messy kitchen. I definitely want to become a Clean Kitchen Person.

I am choosing to keep a clean car because I enjoy a clean car and because it makes sense in this season. A clean car lends a certain calmness and a feeling of put-togetherness that (though perhaps artificial) feels nice. A clean car is a special kind of luxury, one I can afford at this point in my class-less, olive garden-less, child-less life. Also, I am a part-time service rep and an online student, which makes a clean car one of the only luxuries I can afford.

Next week: "Becoming a Rich Person."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Customer is Sometimes a Manipulative Liar


Q: Suppose you check into a hotel for a three night stay. On the second morning you receive a receipt under the door, signifying the end of your stay. What do you do?

a. Call the front desk and say, "I'm supposed to be checking out tomorrow, not today."

b. Pack your bags, go to work, and tell your boss (who set up the reservation), "They kicked me out of the hotel!"

Q: Suppose your employee shows up to work with his luggage and says that the hotel "kicked him out." What do you do?

a. Ask the employee, "What happened, exactly?"

b. Call the hotel and throw a righteous fit at 8:45 in the morning.

Q: Suppose the front desk representative explained that the hotel did not "kick" the guest out, though did put a bill under the guest's door, due to the (apparent) incorrect departure date. The incorrect departure date could be the fault of either you (the boss who set up the reservation) or the fault of the reservations office; regardless, the guest approved the (incorrect) departure date at the time of check-in, and the hotel is more than happy to extend the stay of its guests. What do you, the boss, do?

a. Recognize the misunderstanding, apologize for your employee's rather embarrassing and dramatic response, request that another night be added to the reservation, and assure that your employee can return to the same room.

b. Email a hotel manager and express your outrage over this situation in which, essentially, nothing happened.


If you answered mostly (a), you are a reasonable person who plays by the logical rules of goods and services. If you answered mostly (b), congratulations! You make a sucker out of everyone in the (a) category, and win $20 off your nightly rate.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lily, Jee and Pee Pee

Here is the thing with children: they don't pretend to like you more than they like you.

Lily likes me fine, but she loves Pete. I mean, I monitored my phone the entire day that her mom was in labor with her, I baby-sat just so that I could spend time with her, I crocheted a blanket for her birthday and bought her a valentine's day gift, but you know: whatever. Pete has a BlackBerry with some very entertaining ring tones, and I can't compete with that, apparently. Which is fine, really. It's fine!

One of three things is going on here:

1. Lily, in an act of solidarity with me, is buttering up Pete, knowing that he needs an extra push before having kids. This would explain why she crawls out of my lap, climbs into Pete's lap, and leans in for a kiss. In fact, if Pete agrees to having a child anytime in the next five years, I will credit one year old Lily.

2. Lily has a crush on Pete. This would also explain the kissing.

3. Lily somehow knows that I monitored my phone the entire day that Lily's mom was in labor. Lily senses that I was excited about her before I even knew who she was, before I even discovered that she is exceptionally cute and charming and funny. And while she (I'm sure) appreciates this level of unconditional love, it probably makes her feel good to have earned Pete's affection, which is solely based on the fact that she is cute and charming and funny.

Lily said my name first: "G." Or: "Jee." I prodded her for weeks to say my name, then one day when I wasn't at the house, her dad found her walking around with a toy phone saying, "Hi, Jee. Hi, Jee." Ever sinse then she has greeted me with a "Hi, Jee." Pete has never encouraged Lily to say his name, which he reminded me of several times after we walked in her house last week and she called out, "Hi, Pete!"

In the car on the way home, Pete said, "You know, we don't even know what "Jee" really means. I mean, I suppose she could be saying your name. But did you notice how she said my name just at the sound of my voice? She hadn't even seen me yet! And I don't think she ever spent an evening dancing around, saying your name over and over, did she?"

This is why I couldn't be happier about Lily's new nickname for Pete.

"Hi, Pee Pee."
"No, Lily, my name is 'Pete.'"
"Hi, Pee Pee!"

It sure does curb the jealousy pangs.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm Cold.

Yesterday, in response to my continuous whining and chattering about the cold, Pete suggested that every fall I make the following announcement:

"Pete, I would like you to know that I am going to be cold for the next five months. If at any point you are wondering whether or not I am comfortable, you may assume that I am not."

I am cold from roughly October 16 to March 29, and sometimes well into April. I wake up cold, I get out of the shower cold, I drive to work cold, I make dinner cold, I go to bed cold. My feet are cold, my arms are cold, my fingernails are cold. Even now at work, with no one else here to turn the heat down from the 79 degrees that I have cranked, I am cold.

The reason I can be cold in a 79 degree room is because winter emanates from my insides; it settled there when it settled in West Michigan. Winter is stored in my belly and slowly released in a steady stream of discomfort. While I may be able to layer against the Michigan winter, there is nothing I can do about the winter inside. Sometimes tea helps, but only in the temporary way that a cough drop soothes a sore throat.

And so I find myself, every year, in this race to cure winter. I make lists of the things that I like about winter (which is actually what I am supposed to be doing right now), I try to meditate in a frigid car the way a monk meditates after setting himself on fire, and I lean heavily on my fantasy life, which these days always includes a palm tree.

As for the ultimate cure (moving south), I am starting to suspect that God has me and the rest of the north under a curious delusion in order to keep us here. Case a point: Why haven't all the homeless people in Chicago walked to Miami by now? You see, there's a disease called winter and a delusion that keeps us bound to it. So we just hang around here and talk about the problem of winter for five months, until summer comes and everyone instantly starts complaining about the humidity, like idiot goldfish.

However, I feel I am on the cusp of a breakthrough, that I just may rid myself of this delusion in time to save myself. Though I may love you, I probably will not be able to help you. I imagine all southerners make a pact with God in order to maintain the weight and balance of the globe, so that they can continue living winterless lives while the north slips on its front porch in early December and falls into a black hole called Cold. And I plan to keep that pact if it is a necessary precondition.

Pete, just in case you've forgotten: I'm cold.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pilot's Wife

About a year ago I read a novel called The Pilot's Wife. I read it because it came recommended by my mom, and also because I am a gigantic idiot. Any story about a pilot and his wife living long lives together before he dies of non-airplane related causes would NOT be in paperback and would NOT be an Oprah pick. And this book was both in paperback and Oprah's book club.

The story begins with the crash of a commercial plane at the fault of the pilot, whose wife later learns of his secret life including another wife and family in France. The story didn't affect me on a personal "I hope that doesn't happen to me" level, because my husband flies mainly what are called smallish planes, and he flies them to nearby locations. If he had another family stashed in, say, Lansing, I probably would have heard through the grapevine at Meijer by now. But the one little chapter in which she receives the news of the crash was reason enough for me to have passed up the title.

Last week I came home from work and walked over to the maintenance shop to ask Pete what his plans were for the evening. Dan, his boss, told me that he was flying with his student, and that they had flown to Claire. I found a couple more guys in the flight lounge and asked them what time Pete had left for his flight.

"He left at two," Chad said. Then, "Have you, uh, heard from him at all?"

"No..." I said. "Why?"

"Well, I might need his help swapping planes in a hanger. Let me know when you hear from him, okay?"

An hour later I was chopping vegetables and trying not to look at my watch when Nate knocked on the door. I greeted him and asked him why he had stopped by. "Pete and I are hanging out at 5:30," he said, peering into the living room, expecting to see Pete. So it was then, around 5:30, that a dull sick feeling started to grow in my middle parts.

I called Chad and asked him what I should do next, but he did the next things for me. He called the airports to track down his flight plan, then called me back to tell me that Pete wasn't following a flight plan. Nate hung around as gracious company and I chopped all of the vegetables that I could find in my house. Another hour passed, and suddenly I could no longer distract myself from the fact that my husband's plane had been missing in a snow storm for three hours.

It was then, mercifully, that I got news: Pete's student had called a friend to tell him that they were grounded and waiting for someone to pick them up. The only remaining question was, Why had Pete's student called a friend while Pete had still not contacted me? Strangely calm, I knew their had to be an explanation. There was, and it was this (in a ten step sequence):

1. Pete flew to Claire with his student, Scott.
2. Pete and Scott set out from Claire to return to Lowell, whilst forgetting Pete's cell phone.
3. Pete and Scott became surrounded by storm cells, and eventually decided to land the plane in a potato field.
4. Pete and Scott screamed, high fived, and hugged each other after successfully landing the plane in a potato field.
5. Later, at the potato farmer's house, Pete tried in vain to remember my phone number.
6. He tried in vain to remember his parents' numbers.
7. Pete remembered his childhood best friend's phone number. Mr. Searles answered.
8. Mr. Searles didn't have Pete's dad's number, but he did have Mr. McGowan's phone number.
9. A very confused Mr. McGowan gave Doug Neal's phone number to Pete.
10. Papa-in-law Neal gave his son my phone number.


Sometimes you find yourself in a situation when you know there are multiple potential outcomes and only one good one. I fell asleep that night thinking that of all the possible outcomes of the day's events, I was given the very best one. I was given the outcome that will never be in paperback and which Oprah will never read, unless Oprah is a blog surfer, which I doubt.