Boys and Hygiene

I know, scary thought right. My boys at eight and eleven are way past the ages where I bathe them anymore. It's been at least a couple of years since I felt the need to wash LT's hair and body for him. And I figured after bathing them each for five or six years that they sort of had the process down, but there seems to be some confusion.

My boys are clean after they bathe. It's not like they haven't been using soap or anything like that. The confusion came in this year after Trouble started on the swim team. His hair quickly became the texture of straw from the chlorine. So I bought him some special shampoo and conditioner for swimmers. Now this was new to him. He'd never used separate conditioner before. When he first started using it I talked to him about it. He was putting them both on his head at the same time. I explained this was not how it was done. He had to use the shampoo first and then use the conditioner.

I thought that was the end of it for some number of months. His hair still had the texture of straw put at least slightly fresher and more pliable straw. I kept reminding him to use his special shampoo and conditioner after each practice. I bought travel size bottles so he had his products in his bag and at home in the tub.I really thought I was on top of this.

Yesterday he got out of the tub and I asked how he had conditioned his hair when, for some unknown reason, the conditioner was on the shelf above the toilet.

"Well, you said I should use the shampoo and then the conditioner. So one time I use the shampoo and the other time I use the conditioner."

Oh, for the love of all that is holy! How on earth did using the conditioner after shampooing turn into only use one or the other each time you bathe when you processed it in your brain? And how am I just finding this now when this has been going on for MONTHS?!

The child has swim practice four times a week. I know his hair is getting washed plenty. But it would look more like hair and less like a scarecrow at Halloween if he was using the products correctly.

I very carefully explained that he has to use BOTH every time he washes his hair. BUT not put them on his head at the same time. First you put in the shampoo. Then you rub it in. Then you rinse it out. Then you put in the conditioner and rub that in. Then you rinse it out.

I really think he's got it this time. Of course, I can never be completely sure that Trouble completely understands anything I tell him. It's not that he's not listening, or that he's not a very bright boy. He is. He just has his own take on doing things and it never really occurs to him that he might be doing something wrong.

I am fairly certain he's got it this time. His hair is looking a little more like, well, hair.

I was trying to remember about how I learned to shampoo and condition my own hair. I don't remember my mom ever having to explain it to me. Maybe being a girl with long hair she conditioned it separately for me right from the time I was small enough that she was doing it for me. Or maybe I learned from watching advertisements. Or maybe I simply read the directions on the bottle. I really have no idea.

I will always remember how Trouble learned, though. Seriously, never even occurred to me that washing and conditioning one's hair could be so darn complicated.

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The Weird Sisters

We're discussing The Weird Sisters at book club tonight. I already hear rumblings that this one is getting mixed reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, it probably helps that I had two college courses on Shakespeare, one on the comedies and one on the tragedies, there may have even been third one on the histories or it may have been combined in the other two. I forget. College was a long time ago and mostly it's a haze. Not for fun reasons, but because I took so many classes, went full time through two summers and worked thirty+ hours a week. I never managed to read As You Like It, which is where one of the daughter's names comes from. I also never really followed The Tempest, that required more focus than I had to give at that point in time.

What I really loved about the book was the narration, which was a semi-omniscient voice of all the three daughters. The daughters, Rosalind, Bean and Cordy, could not seem more different. Rosalind, the eldest, reliable sister that has never strayed from home. Bean, the beautiful and stylish sister that moved to NY. Cordy, the baby and wanderer that dropped out of college and has been living on the road for a decade. What the sisters come to learn is that despite their differences and their estranged relationships, they know, understand and are more like each other than they realized. Isn't that often the truth of sibling relationships?

Here is just a tast of what I loved.

"Because despite his money and his looks and all the good-on-paper attributes he possessed, he was not a reader, and, well, let's just say this is the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put." Amen, sister. Not being a reader is a deal breaker in my book.

This one I actually posted to FB. I really couldn't have said it better myself. "We were fairly certain that if anyone made public the various and variegated ways in which being an adult sucked eggs, more people might opt out entirely."

What also spoke to me is how central reading is to every member of the family. They read like it's a religion. No one ever leaves the house without a book in hand. There are half read books strewn about the house. Reading has been like a religion for me too. It has provided me knowledge, comfort, escape, hope, opened my eyes to social injustices, made me feel less alone. When times of hopelessness and despair have threatened to drown me, my salvation has always been to turn to a book where I could find a new friend, get lost in a distant world, be comforted that I was not alone. Reading The Weird Sisters was like coming home for me.

 


I'll Get You My Pretty

Warts have been a bane on my existence over the last couple of years. Maybe many of you have been lucky enough to avoid the pain and annoyance that comes with this virus and can feign superiority with an air of disgust while reading this.

I wish I was one of you. *sigh*

I never had warts as a kid. I had one plantars wart in my early twenties that I managed to get rid of with over-the-counter treatments. You know (or maybe you're lucky enough not to know), the Dr. Scholl's pad treatments. Blackstone, however, had a nightmarish ordeal with them through childhood and as a teenager. His hands are covered with scars from having them repeatedly frozen with nitrogen, the common treatment twenty years ago. I think he may still have nightmares about those constant visits where he endured the pain and listened to his skin sizzle. As he's gotten older, they have been much less frequent, so most of this he went through before we met.

Trouble has been lucky enough to escape this family trait. Warts are not considered genetic, they are a virus. But if someone in your family has that virus, I think it's safe to say that your odds of catching that virus increase. Personally, I suspect there is a genetic precursor of some sort at work here. Some people are more prone than others for an outbreak.

LT has not been so lucky.

His warts have been gone for about a year now, but that is after undergoing over year of treatment from a pediatric dermatologist. Freezing warts is now considered an antiquated treatment and most dermatologists and podiatrists will either strongly advise you not to request freezing or outright refuse to provide it. At least that has been my experiences with the dermatologist and two podiatrists I have dealt with.

LT started with a wart on his knee. I wasn't too concerned at first. I asked his pediatrician about this who counseled me that most warts will go away on their own over time. But LT being an active little boy is prone to skinning his knees. This caused the virus to spread quickly until he had a whole family of warts on his knee. So we started seeing a pediatric dermatologist. I couldn't go back and give you the names of the in-office and at-home treatments we did for months. LT had to go in to see her either monthly or every two weeks. This was time consuming and expensive. I don't need to explain to a parent how all these appointments add up: pediatrician, dentist, opthamologist, orthodontist. Between me and my two kids it seems like I'm taking time out of work every other week for one appointment or another. And because I had crappy health insurance and a $4,000 deductible, all of these appointments were out of pocket medical costs. Between LT's treatments and my own, it is no exaggeration to say I have spent thousands of dollars on warts over the past two years.

You really have to learn to advocate for yourself and your child, and this experience was no exception. After about six months of these visits I asked about a more aggressive treatment. Blackstone wanted them frozen because in his experience that was the only thing that worked. The doctor flatly refused and said it was ineffective and in her opinion painful and cruel. She would consider laser treatment if all else failed. This ended up being several more months of shots of yeast into his knee every two weeks which did nothing. We did consider switching him to another dermatologist, but the idea of starting over with someone new was not appealing either. The dermatologist also continually reminded us that we could just leave the warts alone and they would likely eventually disappear on their own.

LT's knee looked like a head of cauliflower. At this point my blood boiled every time someone told me to just ignore them. Every time he skinned his knee they continued to spread. They also weren't all that comfortable, LT found them embarrassing and wanted them gone too.  Though as the treatments progressed to needles and lasers he was less and less enthusiastic about these trips to the dermatologist. Bringing him became increasingly tortorous for all of us. He needed to be physically restrained during the treatments. It was truly awful.

In the end it took three laser treatments and the warts were completely gone. I realize that this treatment is expensive and for that reason only given once other treatments have been tried and found ineffective, but honestly, I think it would have cost the insurance company less if the dermatologist had just looked at the severity of his warts and done the laser treatment in the beginning. Given what I know now, faced with the same situation I would call every pediatric dermatologist in this state and neighboring states to find one I could convince to just given him the laser treatments without the previous months of trial and error which was a drain on our time and money and also resulted in a long, drawn out, traumatic experience for our son.

While LT was undergoing his treatments, I also started seeing a podiatrist for a plantars wart on my foot. He treated me every 2-4 weeks with an acid of some kind and thought he got rid of it. After a few months, it either came back or more likely was never gone and I started seeing him again. Again he thought he got rid of it, but really not. I treated myself for this one and managed to get rid of it. I figured I could do the treatment he was giving me on my own. I treated it with acid, waited for part of it to die, shaved it off with a sterilized razor blade, covered it with neosporin, gave it a day or two and repeated the process again. I wouldn't advise anyone to do this on their own, but after the frustration, time and expense I was completely fed up. Obviously, there is a risk of infection in doing this on your own, but I was careful and have a healthy immune system and it worked.

But I ended up with two more warts on my other foot that were kind of close to my toes. Their placement made treating them myself trickier. They were more difficult to access and the acid kept getting between my toes causing the skin to peel and itch. I asked my general practitioner for a referral but to someone other than they originally sent me. They took weeks to get back to me and referred me to a dermatologist. In order to get an early morning appointment I had to schedule three months out. In the mean time, I got a referral to a different podiatrist from my esthetician. I managed to get an appointment in two weeks. She offered me two types of treatments. One was more of a process that consisted of an acid treatment in the office and a perscription for me to keep using at home. The second was also an acid treatment but much stronger that contained (of all things) beatle juice. She warned me it would be painful and that my foot would blister, but I still opted for the second treatment. I just wanted the wart gone and appointments that went on for months and months were not an option. I have better health insurance now and no deductible, but I still have copays and I'm still taking time out of work for every visit.

The first treatment was painful but bareable. The pain only lasted a couple of days. Two weeks later at my follow up she did the same treatment again. Now, it doesn't hurt right away. It takes about 12 hours for it to really start to burn and then blister. The second treatment hurt like hell, probably because there was less wart to kill. I could barely walk for a week. The area blistered and turned purple. It was awful.

Three weeks later the wart still wasn't gone and I was facing another treatment. The acid/beatle juice potion/whatever-it-was was working and do I think that another treatment would have done it. But at this point I knew I was in for an even worse ordeal than the time before, so I told her to cut it out. I knew this would not be pain-free, but figured the wart was much smaller now and having it cut out would probably mean a shorter recovery period. She acquiesced and warned me that this would be painful as well.

Like dental procedures or any outpatient surgery I've had, it's not the procedure itself that hurts, it's the numbing shot they give you beforehand. Now, I've had similar shots in my gums, even in my labia, but when I tell you this was the most intense and searing pain I have ever felt from a shot like that I am not exagerating. I just about hit the roof. It took everything I had to keep my foot still. Even in childbirth I don't think I ever swore. This time I did. It was forty-five seconds of pure, unadulterated torture before the numbing sensation started to slowly take over.

After that it was pretty much cake. I never felt any pain during the procedure. It did hurt some in the days that followed, but nothing like the burning, blistering pain that went on for days on end.

The podiatrist asked me which was worse. Honestly, neither was pleasant. I also have no doubt that the minor surgery would have been much worse if the wart hadn't been shrunk by the previous two acid treatments. However, I am the type of person that would rather suffer through the intensity of the forty-five seconds than the long, drawn out, searing, but less intense pain that lasts a week.

For those of you that may encounter warts in your future, I hope I may have spared you some time and money. I'd say pain, but I don't think there's any sparing that when you're dealing with warts.

For those of you that never have the pleasure, you suck.

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Swim Team or a Working Parent's Nightmare

Over the years, we've encouraged our boys to try different sports. I admit, there are some that we haven't tried, golf, hockey, and tennis, to name a few. But Trouble and LT have tried their hand at karate, dance classes, baseball, basketball, football, soccer and swim lessons, not to mention piano lessons, boy scouts and school band.

If they don't like sport then we don't make them sign up for it again. Trouble did one season of basketball and football and then didn't play again. Those two sports were definitely not for him. We made him stick out the season. Once you make a commitment to a team you should honor that commitment. With football that was downright painful for everyone involved.

Cole_footballThere also have to be some limits about how many sports or activities they can do at one time. When LT is in football, there really isn't time for much else. Practices begin this Wednesday and for the rest of the summer he will be in practice five nights a week, two hours a night. Hopefully, practice doesn't conflict with cub scouts once school starts and they scale back to practice three nights a week. But he loves football, so we're willing to make that investment of our time. One or the other parent needs to be there for the duration of practice. Football is pretty intense, even when they're not yet into physical contact, and I'd hate for him to get hurt and neither of us be there.

 However, we're working parents, and not just working parents but each of us with our own careers that we've invested ourselves in. If Blackstone has a town meeting to attend and the boys have practices or games at different fields, I have no choice but to leave each of them and do my best in volleying back and forth. How parents with more than two kids involved in sports and activities do it is beyond me. Especially, when we're talking different age groups and different activities.

Connor_swimSwim has proven to be particularly elusive for us. First of all, swim teams don't advertise. I had known there was a swim team at the YMCA that we have belonged to for over a decade, but had no idea what it was about. The only promotion they do is a board by the pool where they post winner's names and pictures. When we asked about signing Trouble up at the information desk, they told us they didn't have any information to give and that we had to email the swim coach. Since when does a gym not have information about its own programs? It was like I had just asked for directions to platform 9 and three-quarters.

Trouble tried out last fall but didn't make it. We inquired about try outs in the spring and were told to just sign him up. Okay . . . Great! Except . . . . He had to attend three out of five practices a week at 4:30 in the afternoon. And he was already signed up for baseball. And Blackstone was coaching his team. And even if it weren't for baseball, 4:30 in the afternoon! Ugh! Blackstone's hours are all over the place and I work until 4:30 and am 30+ minutes from home.

Swim team is definitely a rich person's sport. Or at least the sport of a kid with parents who work nontraditional hours or where one parent stays home. (Note: I do not mean to insinuate that staying home is not work. I know it is. However, it definitely affords opportunities for kids that can be very difficult to finagle when both parents work outside the home. And yes, my husband does work out of the house, but his office might as well be in Timbuktu most of the time for the flexibility it affords us when it comes to situations like this. It will inevitably be the day he spends 12 hours in the field, or the night he has to drive to Boston for a meeting at 7pm. Then I end up going to my boss sheepishly at the last minute to say I need to leave.)

So now we're trying for the third time. I'm not sure what his chances are since I seem to be gathering that fall is the competitive season, and it seems we'd have more luck come spring. So just to cover my bases, I'm also going to register him for two swim lessons a week to keep him practicing and help him continue to build his endurance. If he does make it, then I know I need to request to flex my hours a bit at work, which is slightly less awkward since I've been there over six months now and the big project should be launched at that point. One way or another, we'll find a way to make it work, even if I have to pay someone to drive him to the pool. But then you have to remember that all this craziness is just for one kid's activity and that LT will also be in football. I fully expect that there would be plenty of nights when Blackstone would have a meeting and I would need to pick Trouble up and drop LT off at the same time, in different towns, neither of which we live in. Not to mention we'll also be juggling cub scouts and boy scouts.

When the heck dinner would figure into this mess? I'd have to pack it in the morning and carry it with me, or pick up take-out in between the running from the pool to the football field, only getting home around 8:30 at night. And homework? They better get it done at daycare or in Trouble's case at home, because we have agreed to start letting him be home alone after school. He is in middle school after all. This has not been without its issues since we started in the spring, but that's another post.

We haven't even gotten into the games and meets yet either. I gather that swim meets are often on Sundays which is also game day for football.

It is no wonder parenting drives so many of us to drink. This isn't just the lazy parents either. If I were a lazy parent, I wouldn't need a drink so badly at the end of the day. It's because I try to balance so much that I drive myself to drink. It may be time for one now.

Cheers,

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Caleb's Crossing

Our last Book Club book was Caleb's Crossing. I didn't get to go and discuss it because Trouble ended up having a play off game that night, and what kind of mother would I be if I ditched the game to go to Book Club? They did end up winning, but were eliminated in the next game which I missed because I was at Football Camp with LT. Have I mentioned that I never played or watched sports in my life until I had kids?

Caleb's Crossing takes place in Martha's Vineyard in the 1660s. I adored Bethia, the narrator. The story follows her journey from childhood to young woman. A naturally subsurvient and submissive woman Bethia is not. She is constantly struggling to quench her thirst for education and knowledge in a society that does not deem it appropriate. Early on, she befriends Caleb, a member of the local Indian tribe. She takes it on as her personal quest to turn him from his idiolistic gods to the Christian God. As the daughter of a minister, she sees it as her duty to try to convert him from his hedonistic ways. But Caleb is the nephew of a powerful shaman, and he asks questions that are difficult for Bethia to answer. As she comes to know and understand Caleb and his tribe, she realizes that they are not the savages she was taught to fear. She even finds herself curious about their gods and attracted to their spiritual rituals.

Unfortunately, tragedy strikes Bethia's family, and as the devout daughter of a minister, she believes she's being punished for her sins.The depth and assurity of her guilt was difficult for me to understand, though I'm sure Bookgirl would be able to empathsize better than I. I know from my study of history how brave and independent a character Bethia is for this time in history. I can't imagine how I ever would have survived in such a time. They probably would have burned me at the stake if I didn't die in childbirth first.

Bethia's father takes Caleb into his home and schools him and another Indian, preparing them for college at Harvard along with his own son. The novel is historical fiction and is based on the real history of some of the first Indians to attend Harvard University. The goal was to convert and educate them, so they could assist with the conversion of others. You may be wondering why Caleb would go along with such a thing. He is as strong-willed and independent as Bethia and has his own reasons for obtaining his degree, that are not necessarily inline with those of Bethia's father.

On a personal note, shortly after reading this book we took our trip to Virginia ,which I wrote about in my previous post. Part of the Ghost Tour of Williamsburg took place at the College of William and Mary, the second oldest college in the U.S. What was the first, you may ask? Harvard, of course. And like Harvard, William and Mary also educated Indians and our ghost tour took us by the dorm where they slept. One of the stories was about the Indian who used to sneak out of his third floor window and run the grounds in the middle of the night until one morning he was discovered dead. They say his ghost can still be seen running the campus grounds at night.

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Virginia

It is nice to be able to say that vacationing with the kids is getting easier. At 8 and 11, there are no diaper bags, no strollers, no tantrums, no chasing them around the airport, no crying on the plane. I don't miss those days. Not that I ever did that much traveling with them when they were babies. We don't need to travel to see our immediate family, we were tired and broke, and frankly, we didn't see much point.

Not that we never did it. We did. We went to Niagra Falls when LT was only 6 months old. I still remember trying to chase Trouble down in the hotel lobby while holding LT in my arms. Trouble got a spanking for that one, to which he screamed in indignation, "You don't do that to me!" Seriously, what three-year-old has that kind of confidence and assurity?

And we went to visit Polly in CA when LT was about 2.Trouble had a terrible asthma attack after visiting Sea World and he managed to slam his tooth into the sink and kill the root. We had a good time, but it was a lot of work.

We were going to drive to Virginia and at the last minute decided to fly.Unfortunately, our 6AM flight was canceled. We should have been in Virginia at 9AM. Instead we arrived at 4PM. It really didn't save us much time on the way down.And we landed in Virginia in the midst of a heat wave. Walking out of the airport was like walking into an oven. I knew we were headed south, but I didn't plan on landing in southern Florida.

Va_connor_ericaOur first night there was a terrible thunderstorm. Somehow Blackstone and the kids slept through it, but it woke me up. I heard the power go on and off a few times. I mentioned it to Brandon the next day who had missed the entire thing. Turns out we were one of the few units in the resort that had power. We were truly lucky to be one of the few that was hooked into the generator for some reason. There was a point in time when I would have said we're never that lucky, but I can't say that any more. We've been pretty lucky lately.

The second night, we heard our first real warning from the Emergency Broadcast System. Blackstone told the kids, "Oh, it's nothing, just a test," because honestly, they are always tests in RI. Maybe in my lifetime there have been some real warnings, but in my entire life I have never heard a real emergency broadcast. This was a tornado warning. Pretty scary to us Yankees who know nothing about tornados. It did sound lke it was going to be quite a storm and we actually hunkered down in the bathroom for a while, but the storm split and missed us entirely.Like I said, I can't say we're not lucky any more.

We stayed around the corner from Water Country and down the street from Busch Gardens. We managed to tour both theme parks, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Jamestown and Virginia Beach. The days we toured the theme parks we had to head back to the resort between 2 and 5 to avoid heat stroke in the 100+ degree temperatures. We did a ghost tour of Williamsburg at night. I enjoy a good ghost tour and the idea of touring the town in the heat of the afternoon had me swooning like a southern belle. (It could happen!) The boys did their share of complaining about the historic sites and tours, but they enjoyed it in spite of themselves. Trouble gave our tour guide for the ghost tour a real workout. He was just full of comments and questions.

Va_brandon_connorVirginia Beach reminded me of Myrtle Beach. They're both so built up you can drive down the coastal street and never see the ocean. As someone who has grown up on the beaches in RI, seeing Myrtle Beach was a shock. I had no frame of reference for seeing hotels actually sitting right on the beach, one on top of the other, entirely blocking the view of the ocean. If you weren't staying at a hotel on the beach, you had to pay to park in some tiny lot and find the small part of the beach that was designated as public access. Not that you don't have to pay to park at the beach in RI, but they are huge lots, and very little of the beaches are actually private. Much is owned by the state or towns, so it's more of a public park. I see now how spoiled I am, to be able to walk the sea wall, or choose between any number of beaches to visit, or just drive the coast line and enjoy the view.

Still, the trip was amazing, in spite of the heat, the canceled flight, the tornado scare. I would definitely recommend a trip to Williamsburg.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

When I got my first cell phone, it wasn't really my cell phone, it belonged to Blackstone and me. We shared a cell phone. Can you imagine? We only really used it when we were out for the day, or if one of us was traveling, so we could keep in touch. This was way back in like 1997 or something.

When we were in college, we spoke on the phone about once a week. We even started emailing at one point. The kind of emailing where you had to call and ask if the other person had received it because the concept was so new and so foreign, we had no idea what we were doing. Our freshman year, we even wrote letters. Can you imagine college kids doing that today? It's a lost art form in my opinion. I still have those letters in a box somewhere. I get emotional every time I see them. Blackstone is really a gifted writer. And the fact that he took that time to hand write me a letter every week, that was true love.

Text_messageFast forward to text messaging. It took me a while to get Blackstone on board with that one. The guy spends a great deal of time in the woods in the middle of nowhere with no cell service and I had to fight with him to get him to text me. And once I convinced him, if I texted him too many times in a row he would often call me and ask what I wanted because he didn't want to keep typing. But this was still in the days before smart phones, so text messaging meant using the number pad on your phone. Remember that?

My first smart phone was a Droid and that was only a couple of years ago. I'm slowing becoming a Mac convert though, and now I have an iPhone. I honestly think there are pros and cons to both and you should consider what kind of user you are in making your decision. Even though I'm now on the iPhone, I still use Google for my email, calendar and all my contacts. I have no intention of switching that over to Apple. I'm happy with it where it is.

I love my smart phone. I'm not a gamer. I don't get Angry Birds, but it does come in handy when my kids are antsy. I do love me some Words With Friends, I have to admit. I have my Kindle App too, which is great when I'm sitting through practices or in a waiting room. I am slightly addicted to FB. Twitter annoyed me way back in the early days with all its crashing and I've only started poking around in my account recently.

Oh smart phone how do I love thee, let me count the ways: Evernote, Dolphin, Camera, iCloud, iTunes, Pandora, Shazam, Yelp, iPeriod, Flixster.

I don't know how Blackstone and I survived before we had shared Google Calendars with accounts on our phones and synced to Outlook. I know we did and I know it wasn't pleasant. Please don't make me ever go back there again. In fact, I'd really like to phase Outlook out of the picture. SHHHhhh! Don't tell him. I think he might have heart palpitations.

I have been considering how computers, smart phones and social media have changed the way I communicate with people. It makes it so much easier to stay connected with those of you I care about who are all over the country. It has also fragmented the way we communicate in crazy ways. When I had sinus surgery my sister was shocked that I hadn't told her. In my mind I had. I posted it on FB. One step, easy. Now I don't need to call everyone who might be concerned and tell them I was having surgery, except for my in-laws, which is frustrating. I don't want to have to take the time to call people and tell them these things. I just want to post it and be done with it. But my sister had decided her FB addiction hadn't gotten out of control, so she had quit cold turkey, so I should have called her too, but I forgot.

Any given day, I might start a conversation on FB, pick it up with someone via text message and finish it with a phone call. Or maybe it starts in Words With Friends and bleeds over to email and then gets followed up by a text. I expect that when I sit down with my friends that they have all the backstory because they've been reading my FB posts. I mean, I don't really want to have to start from the beginning do I?

Of course, it's not all unicorns and rainbows. Instead of heart felt words on the page Blackstone's chosen form of communication with me is voice recognition. I hate voice recognition. I'm sure one day I'll love it, but right now, I hate it because I get messages like this:

O n konriko lied and told they can be on the swim team.

Followed By:

Okay let's try again. Y m c a a called and said to sign connor and cool up for the swim team. Cool we shouldn't be an otter pup and connor will be otter youth.

I get messages from him like this all the time and have to text back:

Who the hell is Karla?

That would be our older son.

Voice recognition is not making my life easier. I now need to solve a puzzle every time I read one of Blackstone's texts. Someone really needs to get on that.

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50 Shades of Oh My!

I love it when there's hype over a new book, especially if it's not just a book but a series. I love to read and while I certainly have a core group of friends that love to read, it's refreshing to see even the non-readers caught up in the book hype.

I especially enjoyed the Hunger Games because it was the first series that I loved that I could share with one of my kids. They're really kind of young for Twilight and they're boys. Trouble did enjoy Harry Potter, but more the movies than the books. So naturally when I heard all the hype about 50 Shades of Grey, I jumped on the band wagon.

But I have to admit, I don't get it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like the series, but lets be honest here, it's little more than porn. I read trash all the time, so this is right up my alley. And I like my trash not to parade as some romance novel. What I don't understand is how it seems to be taking the book club world by storm. I've read penthouse letters that were equivalent to a chapter in one of these novels.

I've read the first two books and I'm sure I'll tear my way through the third one in the next week. I'm also sure there are husbands and boyfriends all over the U.S. that are loving this book without even realizing it, well the side effects of it anyway. Really, I think women should add more smut to the their book repertoire on a regular basis. We spend so much time at our careers, raising our kids, taking care of the house, sex can become the last thing on our minds, which doesn't tend to do much for the libido. Men can get turned on at the drop of a hat, but with sex being a more mental activity for women, I think putting our heads in the game a little more often is way more beneficial than some women realize.

I talked with Curls about it some (even though we're not supposed to talk about the books ahead of time, but we didn't really discuss the book, more the phenomenon surrounding the books) and she suggests that it's the Kindles and the Nooks that are firing the craze. Women can read these books without the shame of having the title and cover of a smut book revealed for all to see. And I suppose she's right and it has something to do with the timing and so many electronic devices. But with that logic, women could also be reading Penthouse Forum regularly under the secrecy of their electronic reader and I haven't seen anyone posting about that on FB.

I think you also have to be careful about that idea of the e-reader keeping your reading private. It may be to the casual observer, but there's also never been a more complete record of your reading proclivities. We also can fail to anticipate how this could come cropping up to surprise us at times.

I recently purchased my two boys Kindle Fires for their birthdays. I had mixed feelings about it and considered a number of options, but it's really the best tablet for the money on the market. Now what I really wish Amazon would do is allow you to create child accounts under your own. Maybe they'll get there at some point, but right now you either need to tie your kid's Kindle to your account or setup their own Amazon account which is going to need to have a credit card tied to it. I had planned that I would setup accounts for my kids and knew I'd want a pre-paid credit card tied to their accounts. I already have email addresses setup for them, even though they don't know how to use them yet. The step that I missed, which I knew but just forgot about when I ordered them, is that I should have specified not to have them come tied to my account.

Why is this such an issue?

Because they had access to all my books. ALL my books.

Maybe you're comfortable giving your kids access to all your reading material, but I'm not. If you have 50 Shades of Grey on there, you may want to reconsider your answer.

It was quick and easy to fix and now their Kindles are setup with their own accounts. The stinky flip side to this is that I have a prime account and I wish they could access the free videos that I never watch, but they can't because they are on their own accounts. I had to make a choice: free videos or potentially scar them for life and provide them with a way too early and vivid an introduction to sex via mom's smutty reading material. All they really want to do is play games anyway.

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Supernatural Crush

I posted at www.ifyoubelongedhere.com again. Polly's keeping me on a schedule. My plan was never to forego my blog for what is now the collaborative. I'm still not decided I'm going to let that happen, but blogging just hasn't been something I'm getting to lately. And seeing we're taking the kids to Disney for a week at the end of the month, I don't see it getting better any time soon.

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