What You See Is What You Get

I'm old enough now, and my kids are old enough, that I've become a spectator versus an active participant in the Mommy Wars. *switching to my Crypt Keeper voice* Back when my kids were little, the internet was new and I was still having fun coming up with a catchy email address. There were no blogs and no parenting sites and the words selfie, blog, text, viral and followers either didn't exist or meant something completely different than they do now.

I fed my kids in the way that worked best for them and for me. I got them to sleep in the way that worked best for all of us. I disciplined (or not) in whichever way seemed to be working at the time. Oh, don't be mistaken: we had mom groups galore. There was ECFE, I was in a nursing mom group, we had Mom's Clubs and playgroups and of course, the audience of mommies at the parks. I was judged, and yes, I did some judging myself. Not proud of it, but I'll admit to doing so.

The thing is, we didn't have the entire world watching what we did back then. We didn't have Facebook friends silently clucking at our misadventures in parenting while they scrolled through their feed. We didn't have an Instagram where a simple picture of our baby could ignite a firestorm of indignation and revolt.

As trite and granny as it makes me sound, it was simpler. But with granny-age comes some wisdom, and I'd like to share a few nuggets of that wisdom with the next generation of mommies:

Ladies, I know it's hard. You got pressure, baby, from more sides than you knew existed. But let this grizzled, saggy mom tell you a secret, okay? In a few years, the eyes of the world will be off of you and focused on the next batch of noobs. You will have these smaller versions of adults hanging around your house and there will no longer be nosy intrusions into your kitchen and bedroom and bathroom (unless you have a dog, and then there will be a cold wet nosy intrusion into every-freaking-thing you do and own). You will be free, my friends. And that freedom is as delicious as a dinner you get to eat while it's still warm.

I spend a lot of time with young adults now. I live with three of them year-round, in fact. Three of my kids are of voting age. One of them can buy booze legally (see?? It's awesome!). All of them can wipe their own butts and in theory if not practice, are capable of making their own meals. They can do their own laundry and drive cars that don't have "Little Tikes" on the license plates.

Unlike those days of yore, when you look at my kids and me you don't see a young and inexperienced artist standing in front of blobs of clay. You see an older, wiser one with some pretty cool sculptures. My kids aren't perfect, thank God. They've stumbled and erred and there are moments I worry about their future roommates and significant others cursing me, but I'm proud of what they have become and proud of my role in their lives.

When I am immersed in big groups of kids now, what their parents have chosen to do or not do while raising them isn't as obvious as it used to be. There are no pacifiers, no tell-tale Pull Ups or diapers peeking out at the back of their pants. No bottles of formula on coffee tables, no empty jars of baby food in the recycling bags. Their moms aren't finding quiet corners to nurse them, and their dads aren't getting high-fives for wearing them in a Baby Bjorn.

Nope. Now, I see people. Almost fully-formed, full-grown people. I can't tell which ones were breastfed and which ones had formula. No idea who slept in their parent's beds and who was a crib sleeper from day one. Ask me which kid ate only organic and which one gobbled up Kraft mac and cheese in their highchair and I'll shrug. Was that kid in daycare from the time he was six weeks old, or did his mom stay at home with him? I DON'T KNOW.

Here's what I can see, though. I can tell you which kid was taught to say Please and Thank You and Excuse Me. I can point out the ones who were made to clean up their messes.

You can see which kid was taught how to lose with grace and win with even more of it.

It's obvious which ones were raised to respect their fellow human beings and which ones weren't.

The ones who had a strong work ethic instilled in them from an early age are easy to spot, too. As are the ones who were taught that they don't have to work for anything.

The girls who were told they could be or do anything they wanted to really stand out. The ones who were raised by former mean girls? They stand out just as much.

I can tell who was shown how to hold a door open for the person behind them. I think we have all met the people who weren't.

I have seen kids who grew up dirt poor and with a single, exhausted parent become academic all-stars with honors and scholarships galore. I've seen kids who were raised in picture-perfect homes struggle with demons in needles and bottles and tight jeans.

And it goes beyond what I see in my kids and their friends. When you are out and about, say...walking through Costco. People who were raised to be polite and kind and gracious stand out among a sea of crassness. I have coworkers who will spend hours of their own time cleaning up the staff lounge, and others who leave dirty dishes in the sink and a tipped bottle of soy sauce in the fridge. If you spend any amount of time in a school parking lot, especially at drop off or pick up, the sins of parents past and of parents present are woefully apparent.

I guess what I'm trying to say, in my usual long-winded way is this: parenting is hard. And despite our best intentions we are all going to make mistakes. The reality is, what we do when they're little will matter and it won't. Oh, that makes no sense, you say?

Welcome to parenthood. The best you can do is simply that: your best. Eff the haters, screw the judgy assholes, smother that awful self-doubt and focus on what's important. And remember this: in five, ten or fifteen years, your kid will be out there in the world, rubbing elbows with the people who sit behind screens and piously preen and pop out vitriol like giant Pez dispensers. Your job now is to make sure your baby doesn't become one of them.




It means "Thanks" in German and although I have nary a speck of Deutsch in me, since my blog personae is Hausfrau it fits.

Last week, I sat down in a cloud of woe and wrote about having to go back down a road I thought was closed. Life has taught me many valuable lessons over the past few years but this one seems to be taking a while to sink in: never say never. Right? When we say something like "Never again!" it's almost as if the universe hears it and says, rubbing her universal hands together, "we shall see about that, Jenny!"

So I did what I find the most therapeutic, and wrote about it. Not seeking attention, not looking for sympathy. Just writing because that's what I do. I've found that when I expose the sometimes-grungy underbelly that is being a divorced woman, it reaches people. Other women who are going through the same shit come out, wanting to talk about it. Wanting to feel less alone. Women who have gone through it, and came out alive, come out. They want to offer support to those of us still there. Women who have never gone through this ordeal come out, just wanting to offer hugs and shoulders to cry on and love.

For a very long time, I kept quiet about the day to day struggle because it was shameful to me. I walked among the "normal" people in my world and kept up appearances for as long as I could. But it wasn't until I began telling the truth that I realized appearances aren't worth keeping up and the "normal" people had stories they were hiding, too.

When I wrote that post, I wasn't looking for handouts. I wasn't asking for help. Promise. I was sad and defeated. You know why? Because I had slipped back into the habit of keeping up appearances. Life was, and is, good. Just like the t-shirts tell us. But life can and will always surprise us and damn if life doesn't throw a few wrenches into the cogs now and then.

Life can also throw a few bouquets in there, too. My kids and I saw that this week. Again.

The night after the post was published, we were all home. Dinner had been made, dishes were done and we were all settling into that weeknight groove. Homework, laundry, maybe mom starting to snore on the couch. My daughter, Molly, still home from college on winter break heard it.

A noise at the front door. Walter the wonder watch dog, did squat. Molly went to the door and came back into the living room holding an envelope. She handed it to me and said, "Someone just dropped this off, Mom." I opened it up and saw this:

That's $300 to a local grocery store, people.

At first I thought I'd read the amount wrong. But no. It really said "$300.00". You know what I did for the next hour? Walked around the house, holding that card out in front of me like a license plate and saying "OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD." I pressed Molly for details. "Did you see the car? What did it look like?" to which she answered, "It's dark outside, Mom."

Henry looked at it and said, "Who would do that? That's so much money!" William just smiled and then pushed me out of his room. Charlie hugged me.

This grocery gifting ninja warmed up my cold sad heart and it felt ahhhhmazing. It's also going to keep our fridge stocked for pretty much a whole month. Thank you, ninja. Thank you so much.

That's not all, folks. Several of you commented on that post, urging me to set up a GoFundMe page or donation site. I can't, won't do that. Those are for people who are truly in need. Like families with sick kids or a house fire or something else way beyond my little bubble of sad. Certainly not for a putzy single mom who likes to talk a lot about how great life can be after divorce and yet, always seems to be a day late and a dollar short.

A friend from high school, a guy who is the bee's knees and who reads my blog, called me up and said, "What are you doing? Get your computer and log onto Paypal. We're setting up a tip jar for your blog. Now."

I have some uncomfortableness with this, and not just because uncomfortableness isn't a word. (psst Jenny it's discomfort). Asking for help isn't easy. It's not something I do well or often. Hardly ever and only under great duress. I told my friend this and he said "Shut up. Here's what you do" and walked me, step-by-step, through the Blog Tip Jar process. It took about five minutes and then took another 2 hours for me to actually work up the guts to put it here on the blog. Even now, four days later, it looks kind of weak and lame to me.

But, that night, Paypal sent me several emails. A donation. Then another, and another. Over the next few days, they came in. Each one hit me in the gut. The ones with notes made me cry. Okay, fine, they ALL made me cry because in my mind, in my heart, I'm not worthy of this. You beautiful perfect strangers who wouldn't know me or my kids if we jumped in your lap and said "HOWDY", reached into your own pockets and gave to my family.

You are now investors in this business and so I want you to know where your money is going. A little bit went to fill up my gas tank. For the first time in weeks I filled that sucker to the top instead of standing there, tapping the trigger until it hit exactly $5.00. Thank you.

A little bit is going to buy my 15 year old a couple of sweatshirts. He's had a growth spurt and has been wearing the same three or four for the past month and I'll be getting him some new ones. Thank you.

A smidgen of it will be used for a bikini wax. LOL. Kidding. Just checking to see if you're awake. And now you're nauseous, too. Sorry.

The rest of it is going to stay right there. It's not going to be touched until we need to touch it. I hope that's okay. What you've given me is a cushion and it's the prettiest, cushiest cushion I've ever laid my old tired eyes on. Thank you doesn't seem like enough but it's all I've got. So thank you.

There were other random acts of kindness too. One of you sent me a Target e-gift card. Oh girl. Target? Be still my broke ass heart. I'll be Cartwheeling that mofo, guaranteed. Thank you.

One of you reached out and paid to renew our Costco membership. You know that brings tears to my eyes. Brings them and then pours them down my cheeks. Thank you.

Someone who will from here on out be known simply as the Meat Angel dropped off a bag of, you guessed it- MEAT. High quality goodness from a local butcher shop. On taco night, we clinked our tortillas in your name, Meat Angel. Thank you.

One of you took advantage of the always-open driver's side window of my car and plopped two super cute bottles of wine on the front seat. At least, I hope it was one of you. If not, thank you confused stranger. It's going to be a while before my poverty-stricken body darkens the door of a liquor store, so again, thank you.

And then, today at work. Wednesdays and Thursdays are my late days. I work as a para from around 11:15 until 2:00, and then do the office stuff until 6:15. When I walked into the office at 2:00, my coworker handed me another envelope. "Someone dropped this off for you, Jenny" she said, and I knew it was from one of you before I even touched it. It just glowed.

Now, for the record, I've been under the weather this week. I had a fever and the achy chills stuff Sunday and Monday, and a weird sore throat accompanied by an almost narcoleptic falling asleep on the couch thing ever since. I'm holding off on going into the Minute Clinic for a strep test. Not so much because of the $70 bill but mostly because I dread the moment the nurse comes in, sizes up my meaty arms with her eyes and reaches for the X-LONG blood pressure cuff.

So I'm feeling understandably vulnerable right now.

I took the envelope and opened it. I read the enclosed card and then I started bawling. Like, straight up ugly face sobbing. My poor befuddled coworker grabbed a box of tissues and handed them to me. I took a moment to compose myself, and then read the card, out loud, to my office mates:

These words. And a Costco gift card. The Costco thing of course made me verklempt, but these words! OOooh. Just looking at them again is making my chin do that quiver thing and the little letters on the screen turn all wavy. I would never, in a million years, use any of these words to describe myself. Dream-chaser? Goal reacher? MAGNIFICENT? Nah. But to know someone else thought they were apropos? Well. Color me humbled.

Humbled and thankful. Every time something like this, like a greeting card full of kind words or a donation from a stranger or a bag of meat shows up, it's like a big hug from some unseen, comforting entity. It's all of you telling me to hang in there. It's my kids learning once again how absolutely good the world is. It's people being kind even though they don't have to be.

All I have to offer in return is my gratitude and my promise that I am going to keep trying, every day, to pay it all forward. To be that hug for someone else, to be good, to be kind even though I don't have to be. I am drenched in gratitude tonight, and always, for what you all have given to my kids and to me.



OMG Not Those People Again

Is going to a food shelf anything like riding a bike?

Well, if riding a bike makes you feel like a colossal, shameful failure, then yes. Yes, going to a food shelf is EXACTLY like riding a bike. If you stand next to your bike and have a hard time getting on, if you have to picture the faces of your kids and close your eyes and take a deep breath before flopping one leg over the seat and grabbing those handlebars...YES. Totally the same thing.

If I've learned anything over the 8-year long roller coaster ride my kids and I have been on, it's this: never get cocky. Never look around and think, "Yeah. Thank God I never have to do that again." Never assume that you got the all clear from the universe. Because guess what, friends? Shit happens.

Things are so different this time around, and yet it's as if nothing has changed. Yes! I do have a good full-time job. With sick days and full benefits and great hours. Yes! I am getting some child support for the two remaining high school kids. Yes! I do have a little bit in savings this time around. Enough for a car repair or to cover rent for a month if I get tuberculosis or break a leg, not anything crazy like college money or retirement.

On the surface, it all looks manageable. But strap on that snorkel and dive mask and look under the water...you'll see me frantically paddling just to keep my head, and the heads of the people who have looked to me to be their safe zone, above water. It's a reality for me, and for millions of other people. I've written about it in a lighthearted tone before, but here's a secret: it's a scary way to live.

The job? Love it. It is where I am supposed to be, where I am needed and where I fit. I love my boss. I love my coworkers. I love every single one of the kids at my school. I am that person who cheerily greets people at 6 mother effing a.m. with genuine happiness.

However, I am not earning a living wage. Maybe if I was still married and had a spouse making good money it would be enough. Or if I had a roommate or if I lived by myself in a little apartment. But it's not enough to support my family of five. It's not the fault of the school district I work for, they only have so many dollars to pay so many people. This is on me, for not having the education I should have and for not investing the time/energy/money to get it. No, the onus for not having what it takes to earn a proper living is on me. I own this one. I keep thinking "ooh next year will be easier. It will just be me and William and the other three will all be in school and out on their own." 

And then a kid or two moves back home. Christmas happens. Winter break comes and stays a while. The only other car in the family takes a $1000 dump and is rendered useless because who in the world has $1000 extra to fix a car? The driver's side door handle on my car has been broken for two years and almost every day someone at work jokes with me about it. "LOL Jenny your window is still down and it's snowing! Get that fixed!" and I LOL right back at them and say "Ha! Trying to figure out which month we don't need electricity and food hahahahaha" only I'm not kidding.

The child support? Honey. I'm not going to lie. If it wasn't for those two bank transfers from Secretary every month, I'd be sunk (yes, she pays it). My kids would be sunk. We'd all be sunk like the Titanic and I'd be Rose, all shivery and trying my darnedest to blow that whistle. That said, he still isn't paying what he should be paying. Somehow he's managed to get away with paying an amount that reflects him having the two remaining supportable kids every other weekend and eight weeknights per month.

So he's paying child support based on a 60/40 custody situation when it's actually 100/0. Yes, I have brought this up with him and you know what I hear in response? Not "Augh, you're right! Here, let me make it up to them (and you) and be a man and a father and really help support my children. I'm going to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and not because my ass is being held over a flame." Nah. I hear crickets. Pretty, pretty crickets. On a related note, if you know of a family law attorney in Minneapolis who loves poor single moms and wants to help, call me!

This would also be the part in my post where I wax philosophic about the ridiculousness of child support ending abruptly at 18. Because I don't know many kids (and yes, they're kids) who wake up on their 18th birthday, turn to their parents and say, "Aw you guys! Thanks for everything. I'm off on my own now. I won't need anything else from you from this day forward." But that's a rant for another time.

So how did I happen to end up back in the parking lot of the food shelf, bracing myself for a good 20 minutes before I had the courage to walk in? Kind of a funny story.

Just kidding. It's not funny at all. It's a stack of obligations- some expected, some not- up against my resources. It was me wanting to give the kids an okay Christmas. It was a huge utilities bill. It was my 100% covered annual physical ending up to be not so covered and Park Nicollet sending me to collections over a disputed $500 bill (hey, by the way, thanks Park Nicollet! Happy New Year to you as well!). 

It was life, as it always is. I made sure the rent was paid, and the car insurance and when all was said and done I had $18.00 left in my checking account. I steeled myself, gave myself that old pep talk and damn if I wasn't all Rocky Balboa running around in a gray sweatsuit singing about how I was gonna fly now.

I transferred $50 from my meager savings to checking and wrote out a menu and headed to Aldi's, which, no offense to anyone, reminds me of shopping at a food pantry except you pay at the end. Aldi's is like going to a grocery store in Bizarro World, everything looks familiar yet different. Fiber One bars are Fiber Now in Bizarro Aldi world. My kids call it "bootleg food" but I have yet to see one of them perish after eating it.

It wasn't enough. It just wasn't enough to put dinner on the table every night. I tried. But things can only stretch so far. The kids know when I'm worried and they know when it's money that's worrying me. They are remarkable humans and sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. Molly watched a neighbor's cat while they were away and when she got paid she stood in front of me, holding out the money and said, "Here. Take it." But I couldn't. This is the girl who is paying for her own college education (with help from some scholarship and grant money, of course). Nope. Not going to take that from her.

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, I sat in a bank and signed over a stack of my children's savings bonds in order to pay the mortgage on a house we eventually had to leave. We'd had a family meeting and the kids, who were kind and wise beyond their years, agreed to let me do so. That moment is burned into my brain and my heart and I will never forget how embarrassed and how ashamed I felt. And now here they were again, offering whatever help they could. Molly bought dog food. Henry bought lunch. William, who doesn't have a job yet, offered to put gas in the car with some of his Christmas money. Charlie, not working at the moment because of a transfer to a new school and a huge course load, has been on kitchen duty and keeps hugging me and telling me everything will work out.

I haven't told anyone about my situation, except for my homie Danielle. She offered to loan me some moolah but my next paycheck hasn't even been born yet and it's already screaming for mercy. No, I put on my happy face mask and do what I always do: carry on. I am Mr. Freaking Rourke on my own little fantasy island, standing there in my dapper suit with little Tattoo next to me, waving and saying, "SMILES, EVERYONE! SMILES!"

Yet, there I was. Sitting in that parking lot, a swirly blowy snowstorm whipping around outside while I wrestled with my pride. Took a few minutes but I pinned that bitch and then I stepped out of my car and into the building where I could get some help.

Because I'm Jenny and the universe likes to eff with me, the woman who took my paperwork this time around has a son who graduated with Charlie. Bless her heart, we didn't discuss that at all and when she said, "So it's been a while since you were here last! We're happy to see you again!" I replied, "I wish I could say I was happy to be here." I told her this was a one-time deal, that I just had a week to get through. Her eyes were kind but I wondered if she was thinking to herself heard that one before.

Not much had changed at the old food shelf. The carts were the same, the rows of groceries were the same. I hummed a Frank Sinatra tune (New York, New York) as I made my way down the aisles. No eye contact was made and I'm pretty sure I did that thing where you leave your body for a while. Astral projection. I kept thinking, "One week. One week. One week." I grabbed a bunch of soup. Some mac and cheese. A loaf of garlic bread. And thank the good sweet Lord, milk. There was orange juice, something I never buy but took a carton anyway because the kids would be thrilled. Ramen because even though I think it's not really food, William considers it a delicacy. Frozen chicken breasts. Eggs! They had eggs! Potatoes and onions and carrots. I kept thinking "One week. One week. One week."

The man who checked me out looked at my slip of paper and said, "Oh wow. Five people? That means you can get a container of laundry soap, too." I smiled at him and said, "I'm okay there. Plenty of detergent. But thank you." Because that's how it is. Thank God this time around we had plenty of toilet paper and detergent and ahhh, paper towels. Looking back, I probably should have checked to see if they had any tampons. Earlier this month I was MacGyvering a very unlucky package of panty-liners into something else. Sorry, but when a broke-ass mom has $7.00 to spare she's going to buy spaghetti and sauce, not a box of Kotex. #reality

So I packed up the one week's worth of stuff into two cardboard boxes and loaded them into my car. I drove home and waited until the coast was clear and then tucked the new goodies in alongside the bootleg Aldi's products. I don't want the kids to know. Why? Why would I be okay writing about it here and not wanting them to know? Simple. I feel like I've failed them somehow. What kind of mom can't provide for her family? I know they wouldn't care, I know they wouldn't judge. But still. I quietly broke down the boxes and put them in the recycling bin and later on when one of the kids said, "Orange juice? No way! Thanks mom!" I didn't say anything.

Last night I was in my happy place. I was in the kitchen making our trademark family meal, homemade fettuccine noodles. I made pasta dough and music was playing (The Man Who Sold The World, rest in peace beautiful Bowie) and kids were drifting in and out of the room, talking to me while I ran the sheets of fresh pasta through the noodle cutter. Later on, when all of this has passed, I wonder if my kids will associate that meal with being poor.

I wonder if they'll think being poor tastes like fresh pasta? I guess as far as memories go, that one is okay.

I hope I will look back on these times, these awful and wonderful and scary times and not cry. I hope there comes a day when all of us can sit down together, over a meal I made while listening to good music, and talk about the good old days. The days when we were those people.


Oh Come, All Ye Faithful...

One of the kids and I were discussing religion. I was a soft Methodist growing up, and become a semi-soft Lutheran via marriage. What? You've never compared religion to cheese? I'm a Havarti, as opposed to an aged Parmesan. And now I'm hungry. As I was saying: the kids and I stopped attending the church we'd belonged to for well over a decade when they decided to be less than accommodating to folks of the gay ilk. I don't roll that way, thus our exodus. So we haven't been to church in a long while but I do still believe in God and Heaven and all that jazz. I try to live my life in a good way, not so much out of fear of going to Hell but more so out of fear of encountering pissed off relatives when I do cross over.

The kid and I were talking about church and religion and some of the ceremonies they'd gone through. Communion and confirmation, to be precise. The kid mentioned how they liked being part of that group, how it felt special to be included in these milestones with their peers.

I asked the kid if they missed being part of a church family. The kid said "Nah. I think you hammered it in for a good amount of time." (LOL).

Then the kid said, "You know, Dad told me he doesn't believe in God."

I didn't say much. Just an eyebrow raised ever-so-slightly and the response, "Really?" He'd been a very active participant in our early church-going days. Ushered, tithing, the whole nine yards. But as our marriage faded away, so did all of the things we did as a family. Church included. I should add, non-believing/atheism isn't a bad thing in my opinion. "Some of my best friends are atheists" Saying it in a jokey way but it's entirely true. A person's worth and likability, to me, has nothing to do with what or who they do or don't worship and everything to do with what kind of person they are. #truth

The kid mused on a bit more: "He says it's because Secretary doesn't believe in God. He says he decided she was right."

Oh dear sweet Jesus. You should see the bite-marks on my tongue, folks. I said nothing to the kid. But in my head I was thinking:

"She may not believe in God but damn straight she's got a whole lotta faith. She's made babies with a man who walked away from his wife and four kids. Girl believes in something!"

And isn't that the truth? Aren't these people, the ones who put on their hardhats and get to the dirty business of helping dismantle marriages, aren't they the most faithful among us? They truly believe in a higher power. They believe that they are immune to the plague which took down the relationship before them. Whether it's because they have a mink-lined vagina or dick for days, whether it's because they're younger or smarter or richer or just plain -er in every way...they believe they are exempt. They believe it's not going to happen to them. They believe in it, with such a fervent heat, that they start brand new, shiny lives with the ones who so casually disregarded their previous ones.

People talk about those of us left behind as being brave. Of being strong. Of having an almost preternatural mettle.

But really...it's those hopeful, determined souls who knowingly build a house upon a rotted, unstable foundation who are the brave ones, isn't it? Oh, the trust they have in their partners-in-crime. It would be admirable if they weren't such awful people. If they weren't the harbingers of so much breakage and ruin and mess.

I've done some shitty things in my life but I never cheated on my spouse. I have been involved with a man or two who did, though. On one hand, yay for honesty! Let's lay all of our dirty cards out on the table early on, I say. I'd rather they find out about the skeletons in my closet- about my dysfunctional family, about my bankruptcy and foreclosure and about the blog I have where I work out my mental issues- at the beginning and from me, rather than later on and from a Google search.

On the other hand, yikes. Yes, I want to know if they cheated on their wives. Although it's not a 100% guaranteed deal breaker (because I am not only soft physically but soft of heart as well and you will not be written off until you give me good reason) it does set off oh so many alarms. Getting married again isn't high on my to-do list but if it does happen, it's very doubtful it would be with someone who'd done to a spouse what was done to me. There would be a trust deficit. I know people change, I know there are as many sides to every story as there are freaking dried out pine needles on my living room floor right now but still...

to put that kind of faith in someone with an adulterous track record? I don't know if I have it in me.

Blind faith? No. I don't think I do. But good on you, if you do.

Good on you, and good luck.

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