Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Want My Two Dollarsssss....

Please tell me you're old enough to get that reference? Please?

My child--no doubt as a result of our own tendency to be a little too free w/ the purchase of toys and treats throughout, well, his entire life--has started to become a bit pushy with the "I wants" of late. He believes to his core that every trip to Target to pick up toilet paper and a gallon of milk warrants a stroll through the toy aisles and the purchase of at least one Hot Wheels car, if not an Imaginext Batmobile or some sort of super hero paraphernalia. And to be fair, for a long time, I fell into the trap of "If you're on your best behavior while we shop for everything we need, Mommy will buy you a Hot Wheels car." In my defense, they are $1 and provided hours of entertainment, so it seemed like a budget-friendly no-brainer. However, since Ethan's generally well-behaved and we go to Target a lot (which might be the larger root of the whole problem--mama's a bit spendy and that can't be great money-management modeling), we are now living in a house that has a Hot Wheel to human ratio of about 30:1 (yeah, I just used a ratio. Suck on that, math teachers who thought I was hopeless. I'm looking at you, Sr. Eleanor.) (Is that what a ratio looks like? Did I do it right?) (I should have paid more attention to Sr. Eleanor).

So when I'm not puncturing the arch of my foot on one of Ethan's little metal non-explosive land mines that are strewn throughout his room and the hallway, I am sweeping them out from underneath the couch, or having to stop the dryer because one has fallen out of a pocket and is clunking around in there, or listening to one of the cats bat a car around the kitchen floor (where they are sure to leave it for me to step on next time I enter the kitchen.)

So yeah, too many toys. Even though we got rid of quite a bit before our move & even though I've intentionally not unpacked a whole box that's currently residing in our garage. Really, then, I can't blame Ethan for having an expectation of instant gratification when we are anywhere remotely near a store that markets products to his age group.

We've been slowly backing off of toy purchases except for the holidays, birthdays and other special occasions. I can't remember the last time we purchased a toy for Ethan just because we were there and it was available. Each time we meet with some resistance, but its been a good opportunity to talk about gratitude and how we are so lucky to have everything we do. He likes to talk the talk--he can tell me all the things he's grateful for and that there are lot of boys and girls out there who don't have it as cushy as he does. But when push comes to shove, the boy wants the goods.

Things came to a head a couple weekends ago when we were at a toy store purchasing presents for a friend's birthday party. Ethan was intent that he neeeeeeeeded a toy--he didn't even know what toy & couldn't even find anything that he really really felt compelled to have. But those details don't concern him---he wanted a toy and expected to be able to stay and browse until he found something suitable. When Husband and I insisted that we were there to buy presents for our friend, that we had in fact already purchased said gift and were making our way to the store exit, the storm hit.

A few warning gusts of whine. The clouds of the furrowed brows and clenched fists came next. Then the deluge of giant alligator tears. Followed closely by the spinning twister of "I waaaaaaannnntttt a tooooooyyyyyyyy," repeated over and over. Of course, in front of several other parents, no doubt judging us for either the general over-indulgence that would have lead to such an outburst, or for not buying him a toy to get him to pipe down. It was super good times.

And being that he's working so hard to be on his best behavior during the school week, when he loses it at home or on the weekends, he loses it hard. Wild assertions, such as "money DOES grow on treeeeeeees," and "but I don't have ANY toys at home!!!!!!" come flying from his mouth through tears, in a desperate attempt to get us to believe in some sort of alternative reality. He says it with such certainty (as though I am a dumbass for not having planted more money trees in the backyard and how could I not notice that dust-bunnies are the only thing inhabiting his toy boxes?!!!???)

Fortunately for Husband and me, this bodes well for us being able to out-logic our child for quite a while to come. I have friends whose kids are so sharp in the area of logical argument that they are already being stumped by their 5 year olds. Thankfully, our little boy is more of a flights-of-fancy type of kid, based firmly in emotional reaction (he *might* get that from me?! Maybe?) as opposed to logic and linear thinking.

Having had enough of these types of outbursts, Husband and I proposed a chore & allowance schedule whereby Ethan could earn his own money and spend it according to his wishes (after putting the first 1/2 of his allowance in the bank each week). Ethan loved this idea. Perhaps because after the list of chores and what each was worth financially was drawn up, he assumed he would be paid, in cash, every single time he performed one of his chores. He ran to the cat dish, tipped the bag of food over until it was spilling out over the bowl, ran back to the living room, stuck out his hand and said, "Twenty-five cents, please."

Excellent. Now that I won't have to feed the cats for a week & a half, let's make "sweeping up the spilled cat food" part two of that particular chore.

When we informed Ethan that, no, he wouldn't receive a quarter here or fifty cents there, every time he completed one of his chores, the storm of righteous indignation swelled again. "But....but I fed the cats! I did my chooooooore! I want my moneyyyyyyy!!!" Oh, the tears.

We explained to him how an allowance works--we'll tally up the chores he performs and how often on the responsibility chart each week & on Fridays we'll give him the total amount we owe him. Husband explained that even he only got paid every two weeks for all the work he does at his company. This was met with more cries of, "I want my twenty-five cennnnnnnnts!" and Husband and I taking turns leaving the room to snicker at our little workers' rights activist threatening to go on strike almost even before he'd started the job if the terms weren't to his liking.

In the end, to at once appease him and to show him the futility of receiving his allowance in tiny pieces, Husband reached into his pocket, pulled out a quarter and handed it to Ethan. He stood there with the quarter in his hand (at first he was horrified that all his hard work of over-filling the cat dish was reduced to one coin--Husband asked him if he'd prefer 25 pennies instead & the response was a resounding "YES."), I'm sure feeling a mix of satisfaction and confusion. He asked if we could go to Target so he could spend his allowance. Husband and I asked him what he planned to buy with $0.25. Looking down at the shiny coin, he contemplated his purchasing power. Then he put his allowance into his pocket and said, "You can just give me the rest of my allowance at the end of the week."

Excellent idea, little man.

So far this week, I haven't had to feed the cats, pick up any of Ethan's clothes to put them in the laundry hamper, make Ethan's bed or water our plants. Fabulous. The only chore that Ethan's yet to attempt is "Clean Your Room." This chore is worth the most money because its the toughest job--it will be interesting to see how he responds tomorrow when we give him what he will surely consider a puny sum of cash (since Husband told him what his potential earning power was). I wonder if that means next week will find his room sparkly and clean. We'll see.

Until then, we're just doing what we can to help out the economy, right?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sir Paul, Style Icon...

While some boys these days are walking into their local kid's hair cut place with a picture of Justin Bieber, or simply sitting at the kitchen table as their mom buzzes around their head with electric clippers, my kid's got a different vision. Paul McCartney. More specifically, "the young Paul McCartney."

Two days before school pictures, Ethan's hair was looking like this:

Probably the longest its ever been. We ask him periodically, "is it time for a haircut, buddy?" and 99% of the time, "nope, I like it," is the response we get. It was encouraging when we started kindergarten and found there were two other boys in the class who unapologetically wear their hair long; at least I didn't have to worry about him being made fun of, or being mistaken for a girl.

But the day before school pictures, Ethan announced he was ready for a change. "Can we get my hair cut? I want it cut like Paul McCartney. Young Paul McCartney." Not that there's a huge difference between young and not-so-young Paul McCartney hair. But the kid knows what he wants.

We sat down with Google and did an image search for of Sir Paul, on the look out for the perfect picture of the mop-top in question. Ethan decided on this:

I think it was the fact that he looks like he's Vogue-ing that Ethan liked more than the hair, but whatever. I saved the picture and brought it to our local kid's hair salon.

Really enjoying his time in the stylist's chair....

Pondering his new 'do...

Ethan's imitation of the original picture of McCartney

and his kindergartener's artistic interpretation of said pose.

Is it just me, or does he look like an entirely different child with short hair? Long hair or short, The Cute is almost too much to take, in my admittedly biased opinion.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hell Hath No Fury...

like a worn-out kindergartener.

Holy cats, people. This child is out of his everloving mind these days. Bless his heart, all I hear from school (teachers, other parents, administrators, etc) is how fabulous he is. "He's so sweet!" "He's very thoughtful of his classmates." and my personal favorite, "you know the advice they give you in communication seminars? Like to nod and make eye contact when you're listening and to repeat back to a person what you've heard them say? Ethan totally did that with me today--what a great communicator!!!"

This confounds me. Perhaps the doorway into the kindergarten classroom is in fact a portal to an alternate universe where only happy, well-behaved & respectful kids are compatible with the air supply. Perhaps ::sob:: he just really likes being there more than he likes being with me ::sob:: Perhaps the teacher has bribed them with toys and candy if they save up all the turmoil for at home (which? I can't blame her. I've got 1, she's got 23).

But whatever it is, within moments of pick up, the magic spell of good behavior has gone *POOF* into the ether and the next several hours are littered with tantrums and whining and sass. It's really special. Really. Special.

Let's see, an example? Okay. Last Wednesday, Ethan asked to stay late at extended care--its like a elementary-age appropriate rave in there every day from what I've heard---dance parties, movies, popcorn, games, Wii, arts & crafts, etc. Who wouldn't want to stay?! Fine. It was "sports" day last Wednesday, so I let him stay until 3pm (two hours longer than his regular school). I speed walk my way to the playground to find him running around with his friends, playing tag. (fortunately, Ethan goes to one of the remaining schools in the area that allows the game of 'tag' on its playground. You know, while kids at some other schools are perhaps wrapped up snug in bubble wrap before being allowed out onto the playground.)

I smile & wave from the edge of the playground. When Ethan sees me, he immediately stops his chase and hangs his head. The trudging towards me slowly begins. Oh, the drama. By the time he reaches me, he is gearing up for the wailing. "Why do we have to gooooooooooo???? I hardly had any time to plaaaaaaayyyyyyyy." The extended care teacher gives me a look like, "Um. Yeah, he's been playing his heart out for 2 straight hours," which I know is true. Bless his heart, Ethan's little fibs are so entirely unbelievable that unless he improves at it, he's going to try to tell a teacher some day that a UFO abducted his homework. The tears start to flow. The ever-increasing pitch of "I don't want to gooooooooo" starts up.

When I tried to tell him that it was 3pm and he had in fact had plenty of time to play, he started in with the, "It's not 3 o'clock!" This is my favorite--when he tries to argue away cold, hard, totally non-threatening facts. "It's not 3 o'clock!" "No, you didn't buy me a toy yesterday!" (fact: yes, I bought you a Batman batmobile to go with your batcopter. FACT!)

And then we escalate to the "always" & "never" statements and the whole concept of fairness. Oh, this is always a good time.

"You never let me do anything fun!!!!!" (this is after I paid extra for him to stay in extended care for 2 hours so he could have FUN with his friends). "I never get to have a play date!!!" (this wailed in agony as we were leaving....a play date. Oh, the irony!)

This weekend he informed me and Husband that he was going to "cry for a month" because we wouldn't buy him a toy while at Target picking out birthday presents for friends. I told him that if he planned to cry for a month I would go ahead and cancel our play dates for the next four weeks because no one wants to hang out with a kid who's incessantly leaking from his tear ducts and complaining about life. He stopped crying.

This is where I admit to being a horrible mother & say that sometimes, he gets so riled up and crazy, saying such nonsensical things with such conviction that I have to leave the room. Not because I'm frustrated, but because it makes me giggle. There is something unbelievably precious about him losing his mind over the silliest little things (although I realize they are not silly to him), and I just love him so much, it makes me smile and that upsets him more (understandably). So I leave the room for a minute while he's yelling about how "NOT VERY NICE!!!!!!" I am. I don't feel great about giggling over these tantrums, but I guess it is better than having to suppress the urge to spank him instead.

For all my joking about the alternate universe in the paragraphs above, I know that he's just working so hard to transition smoothly into kindergarten, to stay on task, to make sure the teacher loves him as much as his last teachers did, making new friends, falling in love with math (my kid???!!!! oy). By the time he gets home, he's just got nothing left---the "good behavior" tank is running on fumes.

Husband jokes with me when he is displaying typical gross male behavior in front of me (use your imagination) that I should feel grateful he's comfortable enough around me to just be himself in all his grossness. "It's intimacy" he says. Um.........

But in a way, its the same thing going on with Ethan right now, but with tantrums and borderline psychotic mood swings instead of bodily functions. After a day of concentrating on being the best behaved kid he can possibly be, Ethan's comfortable enough with me to just be himself--and "himself" at that time, is a whining, complaining, tantruming mess. And I love him just the same.

Of course that doesn't mean he's getting away with it, either. He has lost play dates (which is probably a good thing because he is bone-crushingly tired by the end of the day) and he's spent some time in time-out. Today we are making something called a "mind jar"---a thing I found on Pintrest. Its a jar filled with water, glitter-glue and food coloring. When mixed together, it creates a glittery lava-lamp type effect in the jar. The woman who posted it on her blog uses it as a tool for her children when their behavior or mood is out of control. They have to go to a certain spot with the jar, shake it up and take some deep breaths as they watch the glitter settle back to the bottom of the jar. Then they can put it down and come talk about what's going on, or apologize--whatever's appropriate in the moment.

Ethan loves the idea. "So I can calm down when I'm really upset, right?" he says. I love that he gets to help make it and therefore has some ownership over it. And I love that while it is a great redirection away from undesirable behavior, it doesn't really feel like punishment (because why should I be punishing Ethan for having feelings?)

We'll see how it goes. I'll let you know if glitter can soothe the savage beast...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hookers & Ferries & Cops in Pink Tutus! Oh My!

At times, the SGK 3Day walk was so fun that it was easy to lose sight of the very real & tragic reason we were all there, hoofing it 60 miles around the bay area---every three minutes another person in this country is diagnosed with breast cancer. One in eight women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their life time--that's 12% of American women, people. It doesn't take a giant leap of logic to realize that at some point, without a cure, we will all be impacted in some way by this disease. It is sobering and terrifying. But.

The best thing about the SGK walk was that in spite of those seriously Debbie Downer stats, the 3 Day is much more a celebration of life & of the human spirit to fight & survive, and to fight for each other. I mean, really, what could be more celebratory than this, I ask you:

or this?

Its a good day when you get hugs from tutu clad police officers outside a bank of port-a-potties, my friends. A damn good day indeed.

Just as a side note, these fine gentlemen were from the San Jose police department and they were volunteering, using up their own vacation time to patrol the route and keep it safe for us. And I'm also thinking they were kind of keen on the idea of donning pink tutus, fur mukluks and bunny ears. Because you don't see that on COPs often, now, do you?

Oh, and bras on their helmets. Let's not forget that...

They were pure awesomesauce.

Also awesomesauce? My teammies. The picture is missing three of us (me, taking the picture and two others off in the port-a-potty line...) But look at how chipper!! Look at how ready to go! Raring to have at it!! At 5am!

At the Cow Palace!!! WTF is a Cow Palace??!!

But that's where we started out from. The Cow Palace. Home of fancypants cows? Who knows.

But I do know that pink hair at 5am is quite fancy...

After the opening ceremonies at sunrise gave us our first case of the ugly cry...

we headed out into lovely Daly City...

And by "lovely," I mean full of temporary construction fencing, traffic cones and fog.

And the danciest, happiest dude of them all, stopping traffic for us to cross.

Lots of mini-vans of supporters drove by us, honking and cheering us on throughout all three days.

First stop? The Yumi Deli. Natch. Six am & no coffee makes for some silly walkers

And LOOKIE! Hookers for Hooters!!! (note: not real hookers. I think.)

These ladies popped up over & over again during the course of the three days, bullhorns & all, playing music, dancing, singing, high-fiving & cheering us on. Somewhere in the middle of day 2 the sight of them *might* have made me weepy & overwhelmed with how much emotional support & encouragement they were doling out. Hookers with hearts of gold, I tell you.

And then there was all the mother nature-y goodness along the way, too.

Pretty, right? Totally made those blisters that were slowly developing under my pinky toenails totally worth it.

Day 1 drew to a close with us making our way, no longer a swarming sea of pink, but spread out over several miles, more like a slow trickle of pink, to Fisherman's Wharf, where the tourist's marveled at us like we were part of the regular attractions--you know, Boudin's Sourdough, the Pier 39 sea lions, Ghiradelli's Chocolate & the ladies walking 60 miles in pink shirts. We caught a ferry over to Treasure Island and were beyond thrilled to realize it was then another 1.5 miles of walking to the camp ground. There's something about walking 18.5 miles and then getting to sit for 30 minutes as you watch the lovely city sky line and rock gently to the rippling current that makes that last 1.5 miles seem like a particularly horrendous torture for the blisters & muscles. And no shower has ever felt better than the one I took that evening inside an 18-wheeler shower truck, after waiting in line for 40 minutes holding my pajamas & towel and making small talk with the women to either side of me in line.

There was a chipper lady in the dinner tent bouncing up & down on the stage (she clearly had taken one of the vans from the starting point to the camp), telling us what a great job we were doing & letting us know about the dance party that would take place in that very tent on evening 2. Dance party? After walking 40 miles? Oooookay, crazy lady. You have fun with that.

Day 2 found us hobbling walking through Berkeley and Oakland. Where this sign:

could not have come at a better time. Yes, I'm smiling, but look at how I'm leaning on that utility pole. I could have stayed there all day.

So, they don't need chemo & that obviously provides tremendous perspective. But they are going to need to be lanced and disinfected and covered up with blue cushy "newskin" and then sealed with carpet like "moleskin" and then wrapped in a pink sticky tape that looked like the soy paper Ethan gets his avocado rolls made with bc he doesn't like seaweed. mmmmm....sushi feet.

There we go....ready for the next....30 miles. Oy.

While most of day 2 was spent checking my daily schedule to see how. much. farther. there. was. to. go., there were some amazing & memorable moments as well. Right before heading into the medic tent to have my feet tended to, I walked past a girl who was maybe 16, holding a sign that said, "My mother had surgery yesterday. Thank you for walking." Cue the ugly cry, please. And when I started thinking that I wanted to puke with every single foot fall, a woman would walk by me with the pink temporary tattoo "survivor" on her cheek. Some supporters lined the route with poster boards of Frost's poem, "Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening," which ends:

Again with the ugly cry. There were reminders everywhere of why we were doing this & how the pain we were feeling was so insignificant and fleeting compared to that of the people we were walking for. And every time someone stopped us, asked us "what are you doing?" & listened to us explain our goal, it felt like we were doing something. Every time we walked past an outdoor cafe & someone stopped their conversation to give us a thumbs up or to thank us for what we were doing, it was an anesthetic for the pain swelling in our feet.

But again, that shower? Felt awesome. And I've never slept more like a rock than I did those two nights on the ground in a little pink tent.

Day 3 is pretty much a blur. The ferry dumped us in Tiburon and we had to be quiet for several miles so as not to wake the rich people. Super. Tax loopholes AND extra beauty sleep. I started to notice that the monster hills actually felt good on my tight muscles; they were like built-in stretches. Go figure. For a lot of the day my feet were well-wrapped and minimally painful, but I was so intent on getting to the end that I can't really tell you a lot about that day. It was very much a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-to-the-finish kind of a day.

This guy made it possible for me to keep going, after he performed minor surgery on about four different places on my feet. Glamor, thy name is medical tent nurse. How many gnarly nasty feet that man had to tend to over the course of the three days must be endless fodder for blister-related nightmares and flashbacks. I know as a nurse he probably sees far worse on a daily basis, but the sheer volume of nasty feet....::shudder::


And then, we were there:

I will admit that I didn't walk up the giant hill from Fort Baker to the Golden Gate Bridge. We'd stopped for lunch right before the hill & I always found that starting back up again after a break was the most painful part of the walk. I really didn't want to be limping and hobbling over the bridge after climbing a monster hill. So one of my teammates and I hopped on what we *thought* was a SGK bus to take us to the top of the hill & drop us off at the bridge.

Turns out, we really just got into an RV driven by someone named Mimi, who was accompanied by her daughter, Leelee, and a pomeranian. Turns out, they weren't entirely sure where they were going or where to drop us off. See, when trying to navigate the Golden Gate Bridge, you have to be very careful not to take the wrong turn or chose the wrong exit, or you'll end up on an irreversible track over the bridge and then there's money involved and confusion and a lot of "take this exit here!!! Oh, no, not that one!! This one!!!" or you end up heading out of town completely. So my teammate & I spent about 7 minutes in absolute internal panic mode while Mimi & Leelee tried to figure out A.) how to get from Fort Baker to the bridge and B.) how to avoid the aforementioned missteps that would drive us right off the SGK route altogether.

Fortunately it seemed like it wasn't entirely Leelee's first time at the rodeo, so she directed her mother correctly into the parking lot for the Golden Gate Bridge, we gushed our thank you's profusely (both that they got us up the hill in time and that they were not in fact creepy serial killers trolling the route for their next victims--well, we didn't say that part out loud, obviously.) We met the rest of our team up at the top of the hill & walked across the bridge as a team. Very bonding and life-affirming and all that good stuff.

For some reason, my brain kept letting me think that the bridge was the end of the walk. And while it was a highlight for sure, there were still several miles to go before we reached the end. This line of walkers heading off the bridge and down towards Crissy Field kind of bummed me out as we approached the end of the bridge. There were probably vans I could have taken, but there was something so symbolic about the walk--even though all the money had already been raised, and the walking was, in truth, especially at this point in the game, a formality, I couldn't bring myself to give up. I just kept coming back to the reason I was there in the first place.

And then we were at the finish:

Yay, team!!! Still missing some people (it was hard to get us all in one place at the same time).

The crowd of walkers waiting to go into the closing ceremony.

walking in to the closing ceremonies, site of the final ugly cry....

After all the walkers who were not personal survivors of cancer themselves had entered the circle, those people who walked as survivors march in, at which point everyone takes off one shoe and holds in the air to salute them. Its possible that it was simply delerium from the pain in my feet and the overwhelming emotion of the past few days, but given that I'm a sucker for symbolism, I shed some fat weepy tears on this one.

Then the survivors join hands and there's swelling triumphant music playing and TEARS TEARS TEARS!!!

Aaaand then on our bloodied little stumps that once were feet, we danced....

Where do I sign up for 2012?!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

On the Other Side...

In my next life, I hope to come back as---well, some species that doesn't accumulate a lot of crap along the way. So that if I'm ever in the position of having to move dens or nests or hives, I can do so with minimal effort, no boxes, packing paper or bubble wrap & definitely no moving company. Just me and the stripes or spots or feathers on my back, my family or my pride or my flock, setting off to our new location. Because if there's one thing I've learned over the past 4.5 years, its that packing & unpacking an entire household sucks.

It's been almost a week and unfortunately the house is still aflood with boxes; mainly because I had to spend so much time at the old house packing up odds and ends & cleaning. And there were the little glitches along the way, like when I walked into the new house and found a gaping empty space in the kitchen where the refrigerator had been. Nothing cuts into your cleaning and unpacking time like having to bounce from appliance store to appliance store looking to drop an unbudgeted-for several hundred bucks on a new major appliance. And let me assure you, dragging an exhausted 5 year old just finished with his first week of kindergarten around with you to appliance store after appliance store? That's a special kind of family bonding right there.

But the good news for the 5 year old? His room is big enough to fit every last toy he owns! So now instead of the house being overrun by toy sprawl, all of Ethan's cars and dinosaurs and super heros and train goodies fit in his room. My living room and office space will no longer be a makeshift play room!!!! WINNING!!!

The house itself is great--old and totally unrenovated (the toilets were clearly installed at a time when people only grew to be about five feet tall because they are so teeeeny--think one size up from preschool sized toilets. That's only the slightest of exaggerations), but great. The kitchen screams 1950's (except for the new stainless steel refrigerator. ooops) and has the layers of unmatched white paint on the cupboards that don't all quite close just right to prove it. Also there's the vague smell of grandma's old kitchen which is at once nostalgically comforting and also twitch-inducing. The office room has wood paneling on the bottom half of the wall (okay, so perhaps it was renovated once. In the 70's.). So, that's awesome.

But the backyard is a total oasis of awesome. Vegetable garden right in the middle of producing a whole crop of tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplants. I'm trying to harvest them as much as possible before I kill every last one of the plants with my gardening incompetence. The whole yard is enclosed in a giant privacy fence and the fence is covered in flowering vines & gorgeousness. Hummingbirds galore and a slight view of the mountains behind us. Doesn't get much better than that (and totally makes up for the fact that our master bathroom is the size of a postage stamp and has a barely functioning shower).

Seriously, though, all my complaints are in jest because I realize how incredibly lucky we are to have found a house, ANY house, in such a great location, close to so many great friends, and that we have everything we could possibly need, even if not all of it takes the shape we'd prefer. The house is full of character in the way only a house with 15 layers of paint on kitchen cabinets can be. I fully intend to add my own layer of a different shade of white, just to make my mark on the house, too.

In other news, HOLY CRAP, PEOPLE!!! The Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure?!!!!! IS TOMORROW!!!! I will be getting up at three freaking thirty IN THE MORNING! And driving myself to a teammate's house; her husband will drive us up to the city to the starting point. We will be getting there at FIVE AM! Nothing like walking those first 20 miles on four hours of sleep!!!!

But I cannot wait--I'm walking with some amazing women and feel as ready as I could ever be. I know I could have trained more (one of my phenomenal teammates logged 500 miles of training. FIVE HUNDRED!!!!!), but I know I'll be able to do it. Of course, I did notice that the pair of sneakers I've been training in for the past 6 months have started to fray on the inside by the back of my ankle--so that should be awesome around mile 40. But I've decided to power through with that pair of shoes, and have purchased all kinds of blister deterrents and special foot wrapping stuff to make a good barrier between my ankle and the inside of my sneaker, so hopefully I won't be hobbling towards the finish line on bloodied stumps that used to be feet.

And can I say, in a moment of totally losing sight of the point of the whole experience, I canNOT wait to get a pedicure after this experience---the hobbit-foot state of the callouses on my feet are horrifying. The other day I inadvertently stepped on broken glass....and I didn't even feel it. Because my feet are layers thick with nasty callouses. That is all kinds of nasty, but necessary for the walk. But come Monday afternoon, I am taking a Ped-Egg to those suckers until my feet feel newborn-feet-never-touched-the-ground soft.

So, my team has raised close to 40k and I am so hopeful that somewhere, one of those dollars will be put into a study that will lead us to a cure. And that some of those dollars will go to provide a mammogram to an uninsured woman in my area, or to treat someone in my community who would otherwise be unable to afford to save her own life. One in 8 of us will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer in our life times; everyone of us will know someone diagnosed. Just since starting to train for this walk, I have learned of a friend being re-diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, and several of my teammates have had friends or family members diagnosed as well. We are walking for them. And all kidding aside about blisters and monster-hoof feet, nothing this walk can throw at us will be remotely as difficult or painful as the fight against cancer has been and will be for these people we love.

So I'll see you next week, on the other side of the walk. If you follow me on Instagram, I'll be posting a lot of pictures of the walk as we go. My name on IG is "Sarahndipity71"