Strength Through Adversity

Our knee jerk reaction as parents is to rescue our struggling children.  It’s hard to take a breath and a step back and lay witness to the battles, all the while feeling helpless and useless.  That’s not what we are conditioned to do.  We are the parents and as such, are responsible for the well-being and care of those innocent little beings that we brought here. The urge to protect, shield them from harm and difficulty is innate in all mothers and fathers.   We’re not supposed to throw them to the wolves knowing full well they’ll be hounded and forced to fight back; made to stand up and withstand the baring teeth and the all out assaults of those that wish them harm.   It’s hard to listen to them cry and shout in frustration, fear and anguish.  Fear of failure, fear of hurt, fear of losing.  All valid and all the more reason for us to retreat into the shadows and wave our flag of support.  

The adults in this world are nodding their heads, knowing the struggles are real and totally worth it in the end.  It’s enduring the struggles and watching them unfold that’s hard.  It’s the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’ and fighting one’s way to theend is the only way to finish, that holds us back from donning our Superman capes and flying to their aid.  “Sorry, kid it’s in the wash” I said in an email to D2.  The email to inspire her to move onwards and upwards despite the late night crying and homesickness and the “I hate I can’t…”   Me too.  But, it’s your attitude through this difficult patch that will make or break you.  It’s your positive keep-that-chin-up and soldiering-ondespitewearingthatbootonyourleg-that-youhate; despite not being able to do what you innately feel you must do.  Be the bad-ass I know you can.  Lead the damn parade anyways.  March in drill class like you own it.  Remember, hard work and dedication gets you winning regattas and your name in a history book.  That same hard work will get you through this, too.  

I can do nothing but sit here, several provinces away, and hope you hear us cheering you on.  I hope you know you have the guts to do it.  You are strong enough, brave enough and smart enough.  Feeling sorry for your current predicament does nothing but waste precious time.  

Parents are put in the unique position of witnessing progression, triumphs and failures simultaneously.  Struggle is a part of being alive.  It’s through adversity that we truly learn how strong we are.  Taking away that struggle, or trying to diminish it in any way from our children, leaves them with nothing to gain; upon which nothing to build character.  I hate being a spectator to battles and I hate being here, not taking on my Sheldon-like traitof patting her back with a sympathetic ‘there, there’ and offering her a hot beverage.  Of course, I want to hold her hand and tell her it’ll be fine and to just come home.  But what purpose would that serve, if only to make myself feel better?  None.  She learns nothing.  

Struggle on, little bird and kick some ass.  Show your character by fighting through this with your wit, sarcasm and smarts.  If that doesn’t work, march, yell and lift the heavy weights.  Do all the push-ups, do all the chin-ups and do all the rowing.  This whole battle can be won or lost depending solely on how you respond.  This has nothing to do with me or your father; this is your war.  Your struggle.  Your life.  So win it.  

I’ll be over here in the shadows intently watching, laying out my Superman cape to dry knowing we’ve done everything we can, waving my flag of support and cheering you on.  Now, it’s your turn to fight for what you want.   Struggle on, my darling.  

Good luck parents.  Staying in the shadows is the hardest part, but will make the successes that much sweeter.  Let me know if you need a fellow spectator, I have LOTS of coffee….

Easy to watch when they are winning…

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Of Wine and Womanhood

Being a woman has become increasingly agonizing.  I’m not talking about the current landscape of women being paid less (we are) women being victimized (we are) and the women who speak out only to be victimized again (yup), I’m talking about the ever-raging battle we have with ourselves; our total lack of control over our bodies’ ability to wage a war we can never win.  Or better, a war we knew was imminent, but chose to ignore or hoped it would just fade into myth and legend because, really, who wants to deal with that shit?  The Big ‘M’, as I now refer to Menopause and all its glory, is to blame for all the calamity that has been occurring in my world the past month or more.  At least, that’s where I’m laying the blame, but who can tell now that wine has currently replaced any beverage deemed socially acceptable after 9am?

I know you’re looking for proof, because in this day and age of evidentiary documents no one can just take someone’s word for something anymore.  There needs to be written documentation, witnesses called, a committee formed, stuff examined…that’s not happening.   I’ll just give you the run down and you can take it for what it is.  A warning to all ladies entering this stage of shitdom.  You. Are. Welcome.

  1. Once upon a time, when I was young, I was diagnosed with Psoriasis, mainly on my hands, which I dealt with routinely up until my first pregnancy. The Fertility Gods then shone down upon me and vanquished said psoriasis into oblivion.  Until now.  It’s back with a vengeance.  WHY BODY, WHY?!!  I’ve been scratching and reverting back to smearing petroleum jelly on them, because that’s the only thing that helps the redness, pain and yukkiness.    The hormonal change is wreaking havoc…

 

  1. I tried the root cover-up stuff because, of course, my grey hair was showing a bit tooo much for me to like it. So, on goes the box of root cover dye that says GOLDEN BLONDE.  I take off the towel and ITS NOT GOLDEN ANYTHING, ITS GODDAM BROWN.  Yes, I am now a brunette on top and strawberry blond on bottom.  And it’s not just roots that received the colour.  I’m talking THE ENTIRE TOP OF MY HEAD.  I’m going with the “oh, I’m ombre now” thing except I DON’T THINK THAT’S A THING ANYMORE. In order to balance out the difference, I decided to use my red-dyed-infused shampoo, so now, I have red splashed into the rest of the bottom strands.   It’s like Bozo the Clown dyed his wig just around the crown of his head and left the rest to chance.  I feel pretty!  Apparently, this is how my life works now.
Bozo

It’s like this, only minus the creepy smile…sometimes. 

  1. I caught the cold from Hell and had to stay in bed for almost three days because THE COLD FROM HELL. I’m better now thanks…except for the shit Psoriasis and the grey/brown/red Bozo hair thing.

 

  1. My hip refuses to relinquish to the squats I NEED to do as often as I want, so now, I limp like I’m almost one hundred and fifty. I can’t run.  I can’t walk.  I limp, like I’ve been repeatedly kicked in the ass by a pissed-off, well, ass.
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How I currently walk

  1. According to Web MD, because I know you all look shit up there too, I have something called Crashing Fatigue. Fucking awesome.  This little trip to crazytown goes down like this:  for a few days or weeks or months, however long YOUR BODY WANTS TO, bouts of fatigue can overwhelm ‘the patient’ causing her to want to sleep incessantly, because it’s not like I have ANYTHING ELSE TO DO WITH MY LIFE.  I experienced this a couple of weeks ago and it lasted for almost five days.  FIVE DAYS of waking up fine until noon, then *WHAM*  it’s sleepy-night-night time.  I actually left work one day and went home for a nap.  I very infrequently nap.  Then, I was in bed by 8pm and up the next morning.  I slept the entire night.  Every night.  It was ridiculous, really.  Apparently, I really should look for appropriate hormonal therapies.  OH, FOR GAWD’S SAKE I DON’T WANT TO.   I also have bouts of short temper, angry outbursts and temper-tantrum-like behavior.  Kinda like a rabid dog without the foaming at the mouth and baring teeth, although Hubby may agree with that description.

grumpy cat

I’ve decided to just go with it and see where this shitshow lands.   I may have to rely on liquid therapy and a lot of ‘alone’ time away from actual people who may find me violently unpleasant.

Great.  I hope you all find the right therapy for you, your friends, your friends’ wives, the bus driver…whomever.

Stay healthy and stay away from the hair dye!

 

Fall Feels

September winds are on the way.  Summer weather is hanging around like a bad house guest who refuses to leave.  Pretty soon we’ll be packing the suitcases and hastily pushing them onto the front porch, the awkward goodbyes impetuously tossed around like a kid’s unfinished homework.  It was good while it lasted, but for Fallies like me, it’s time to move on to the chilliness, pumpkins and spooks; AKA, THE BEST TIME OF YEAR EVAH.

I love autumn like Mags loves her donuts; fallen onto my lap and gobbled up with feverish joy.  The leaves turning colour, the frosty mornings and chilly afternoon sunshine.  Early fires and warm coffee with a good book.  Warm socks, cozy sweaters and candles lit with vanilla or cinnamon scent.  This is the time of year I start the bread making, D1’s birthday, a new school year with challenges and the preparation for Christmas ( I know, I hear you groan).  This year, D2 will be coming home after 4 months away and only 2 months left to go in her training.  IT’S GOING TO BE AN EPIC CHRISTMAS.  She’ll be squished so much, she’ll be begging to go back to the -40 degree temps and desolation of Regina.

The family unit is changing with thoughts of both daughters moving onwards and upwards and the boy starting his second year of Uni peering down the tunnel of med school, career and ultimate move to parts unknown.   We’re holding on to the last of the full nest, pondering the future of where they’ll be and where we will end up.  It’s a bit daunting, but the natural progression is unstoppable.  That train left the station once that new pink fat baby was placed in our arms and we dedicated ourselves to securing her future.

Now, three fat babies later, we have to let them all go.  We would rather it be a progression of one at a time, but like a sticky bandage, maybe its better it be ripped off all at once.  Maybe it’ll be less painful if all three decided to leave home en masse instead of one at a time.

Or not.

The boy will be home for the duration of Uni, so that guarantees me another three years.  Yay!  D1 has one foot out the door with the collecting of “things I’ll need when I move out”.  Huh.  Am I supposed to help her with that?  I think I’ve been suggesting dishes and pots and pans, instead of the marble coaster set and random pink throw she bought, but she looks at me like I have three heads.  I’ve clearly failed her as a mother.  “I CAN’T COOK”  Ugh.  My reply:  “LEARN. RACHEL RAY IS ON TV FOR A REASON”    “Okay, Mom.”  Of course then I regrettably say things like “Maybe you’ll get a nice boyfriend who can cook for you, then you’ll NEED nice pots and pans.”     She looks at me like this:

Ain’t parenting grand?!

As I hungrily await the first fallen leaf, the first bite of air, and the first murmur of “I’M NEVER COOKING MEAT.  EVER.”, I remain ever steadfast in my belief that I am one of the lucky ones.  The parent that GETS to see her children grow up and move on; I am one of the privileged ones that is allowed to see my fat pink babies have careers and be employed and be secure in their development.  I am ever aware of the unique honour it is to have the opportunity to be here for our children as they become adults, help them move out, and say things like “Gee, that handsome Cardiologist is single…”

And I am eternally grateful for it all…

Draw Like Da Jesus!

My conversations with the ever-absent D2 are infrequent and fraught with awkward silences.   We no longer have that day-to-day mundane interaction to share or joke about, so we get lost in the abundance of stuff and so little time within to tell it.  She’s monstrously busy and I’m monstrously trying to fill her absence.  D1 and Son give me sideward glances when I beg them to talk to me or sit with me outside and tell me about their day, or come with me to Walmart JUST ONE MORE TIME.   I may have to borrow a neighbor kid with whom I could drive around and tell sarcastic bad-driver stories.

The questions that I invent for D2 are different than Hubby’s, but then again they should be.  He was in her exact spot a mere 29 years ago, so of course he wants to know what it looks like, have you done this course yet, who is your drill Corporal, blah, blah, blah.  My questions are far more important and revolve on actual survival skills that only moms understand: have you made any nice friends?  Are you eating enough?  How’s the food?  Are you getting enough rest?  How’s that cleaning, ironing and washing going?  Need another bed-making tutorial?  (Yes, I actually sent her a tutorial on hospital corners that she shared with her troop mates, since I clearly failed her as a mother and neglected to demonstrate this in person during her ENTIRE LIFE AS MY CHILD) Don’t get sick.  Wash your hands all of the time, STAY AWAY FROM THE WEAPONS FIRING AREA.  You know, SURVIVAL.  I’m thinking for Christmas, I’ll give her a throw pillow that reads: JUMP LIKE DA JESUS.   It’s a bit kitschy.  She won’t be able to have it on her bed at Depot, since obviously, EVERYONE WILL WANT ONE.  I needed a short and catchy phrase, since my embroidery skills are as lacking as my motherly teaching skills.  Ugh.

Hubby is entering a new decade today.  Fifty is the new I-made-it-this-far-so-may-as-well-get-shitfaced, so there’s that to look forward to.  Not that he’s going to drink himself to all out oblivion, but I may be tempted.  This new age of being older-than-dirt in the eyes of the youngsters, quite frankly, sucks.  I get eye-rolls and the ‘oh, mom’ when I ask about something Millennials with their hipster jeans and Birkenstocks can only decipher.  By the way, WHEN DID BIRKENSTOCKS COME BACK AS COOL?!  They’re ugly as shit and I don’t understand the appeal.  They’re like wearing hard rubberized sole-deforming casts on your feet and if you were TOLD you HAD to wear them as punishment, one would rail against the establishment as being cruel and unusual and anti-freedom-of-feet!  I see you shaking your head and holding up your rubberized-foot sling as something I should try and that I’d ‘surely love them as soon as I wear them awhile’  NO.  UGLY. AS. SHIT.

I’ve also decided that being over fifty is life’s way of getting back at you for all the crap you said about EVERY ADULT YOU KNEW when you were in your teens. All your eye-rolling, oh-mom comments, ripped jeans, non-sensical friends….STOP DRAWING THAT CIRCLE.  I see it.

Your body decides to play games, your now adult kids make fun of you and you finally understand everything your parents ever said to you throughout your entire life and feel the need to spout same to YOUR children/adults.  Their time will come when they will say the same thing.

WHO BROUGHT FUGLY

BIRKENSTOCKS BACK?!

See?   Okay, you can draw now.

Cue the Lion King theme song.  I’m done.

Letting Go

The absence of D2 is strange.  I walk pass her room and see it empty and surprisingly, clean. There’s no coffee mugs on the desk, or clothes thrown onto the floor in a frenzied panic.   The car we shared is still filled with wanton coffee cups and rowing materials, tossed on the back floors reminding me of her once fluid presence.  In the trunk of said car, I found a cap, a sweater, a yoga mat and coloured tissue paper used for a friend’s gift, now forgotten and abandoned.  She’s still here, but isn’t.   I went through her drawers to find a top I could ‘borrow’ for work.  Instead, I ended up emptying the drawers, organizing pants and tops and putting some questionable things in the laundry.  I didn’t find anything to ‘borrow’, but she now has neat folded clothes organized in an efficient manner for when she returns.

But, if all goes according to plan, she won’t be returning.  She’ll be moving on.  On to another province and another life.

It is a good thing, of which I am reminded daily after everyone tells me she’s supposed to move on.  She’s supposed to get a life and have a career and not be in her room on the second floor.  The room that was once decorated with lilac walls and flowery wall paper; dolls lying everywhere and shelves with Beanie Babies strewn upon them.  Book shelves with Disney covers and old Dr. Seuss stories she should have given her younger brother ages ago.  The bunk beds she shared with her sister, a tv on the dresser, her stark white Tae Kwon Doe gee and colored belts strewn in the corner along with her guitar lying lazily on its side.

All of that is gone, except for the guitar.  It’s now in my room, hidden behind her grad dress and boxes of old photographs.

I am reminded that I shouldn’t be lamenting my loss, but delighted in her gain.  I should be happy for her, that she is doing something she wants to do and is securing a future for herself.  Yeah, yeah.  Easier on the other side when kids are still home and tucked in bed at a reasonable hour and you still make the rules and the meals and discuss how unfair math homework is.

It’s supposed to be easier when they get older, isn’t it?  Not so, dear friends.  Not so.  There’s university, then jobs, then careers, then…gasp, WEDDINGS, BABIES, HOUSES IN NEW TOWNS, NEW PROVINCES?!  WHEN WILL IT END?!

Aye, there’s the rub.  It doesn’t.  It’s the never-ending cycle of having babies and watching them grow up and move on and become the people we always hoped they would be.

And when they DO do it, you’re surprised and proud and sad all at the same time.  Surprised that you actually pulled it off.  You managed to raise a human being that contributes to society, is intelligent (although when she was 3 and proceeded to on the toilet backwards because “my friend Lucas pees this way” you kinda wondered…) has common sense, the ability to laugh and that ever-biting sarcasm.  Proud because she fought her way through school and work and negative old men who doubted her abilities.  Sad because she is gone.  How did that happen?  Hubby and I look at each other, full of wonder.  Wasn’t she just turning 4 yesterday?!

Then the worry of did you teach her enough, did you make her tough enough to fight back, did you give confidence to believe in herself and not to listen to the nay-sayers?  Did you fill her enough with knowledge of that big bad world, compassion enough to listen to the unfortunate, and creative enough to solve the problems she will face?  Did you?

Beats the fuck out of me.

I guess time will tell.  At some point, I have to say we’ve done all we can do.  It’s now up to her.  It’s all in her hands, not ours.  If she succeeds, it’s all because she wanted it bad enough to work her ass off to get it.  If she doesn’t, it’s all because she chose not to; she chose to walk another path and it’s ultimately her choice to make.  Not ours.

In the meantime, I’ll wait.  I’ll continue to walk passed that empty room, dust the furniture every once in a while, fold some more clothes that I won’t ‘borrow’, knowing we’ve done our best.

Soar on, little bird.  Soar on…

Riding Semis With Strangers

The wind is blowing, the sun is kinda shining and I’m not wearing a parka.  What a great Friday! The following tale is not for the faint of heart and one not wishing to lay witness to the winds of change.  An emotional upheaval of a woman fraught with anguish, ire and scant hormones that have left her (me) with little else but to rant and rave to the Gods of the Universe to bestow patience and lots of wine.  Here you go….

The inevitable is careening at me like a Denzel Washington train of disaster and I can’t move out of the way fast enough.  I’ve ranted and raved, threw my fist in the air to protest the injustices of errant hormones and still I’ve been relegated to bowing my head in disbelief and wanton despair.  Approaching 52 has never been so tumultuous.  I imagine.  I’ve never approached 52 before and never will again, for that matter.  Good thing.  I’ve had to reel in my tongue lest the innocent bystanders fall victim to my raging Norma Rae pontifications.  A little dramatic, I realize but that’s how it is these days. I’ve had to remind myself that someone being a little late is not an ‘idiot’ or a ‘fucking moron’ or anything other than just being late.  I’ve had to remind my body that I’M NOT THAT OLD, M*&^*F**&^CKER AND I CAN DO IT IF I WANT TO.  OR, maybe I should take a few days off and think about it.

I was forced to counsel Hubby on the upcoming personality disorder that will be defined as his former wife, due to the unfortunate incident of him answering my plea of being rescued from a place of employment with a curt ‘no’.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO?!  It started and thereto began the Great Conflict of Summer 2018 when Hubby had the audacity to suggest I keep my car and let D2 walk.  THE ABSOLUTE NERVE TO THINK I COULD KEEP MY OWN CAR.   With the windows open widely so the ‘hood could partake in the banter and loud yelling of I CAN NEVER BE ANGRY BECAUSE YOU JUST GET ANGRY THEN EVERYONE IS ANGRY. NO, YOU’RE OUT OF ORDER AND THIS WHOLE PLACE IS OUT OF ORDER AND WHY AM I QUOTING AN OLD 70’S MOVIE AND  JUST LET ME BE ME FOR ONCE!!!   GAWWWWDDDD.    Yes, a teenager-proud moment was never heard so well and as renowned as the plea for my emotional independence.  I Lost. My.  Shit.   What. The. Actual. Fuck was wrong with me?

I ranted on D2 about how she was driving too fast and if she doesn’t slow the fuck down, I’m getting out of the car and walking because I can’t take this shit.  I later drove the car to her employment place only to begin my long walk home.  Stalking along the street, I was determined that if a truck driver manning a semi with a lady tattoo and a penchant for beer stopped and offered me a ride home, I may agree. A true moment of being a statistic on a milk carton, only display that pic of me on a wine bottle so my friends could actually know I was missing.  WHO DRINKS MILK AFTER THE AGE OF 40?   A few minutes later, she stops aside the road pick me up along the way to say I was being ridiculous.  RIDICULOUS.  ME??

No, I was being emotionally independent of all the fuck that’s happening in the world and LETS GET COFFEE AND COOKIES, DAMMIT.

Because coffee and cookies are like the meth of menopause.  I use the ‘M’ word with bated breath and downcast eyes, lest I look directly at it and it blinds me.  I’m not entirely within its grasp, but rather on the outskirts, stealing fearful glances at its promise of further rages with opened windows and moments of hitchhiking with semis.  She carefully throws cookies at me like feeding a rabid dog and fearful of her hand being bitten.

I now know why divorce rates rise at this stage of life.  I HAVE LOST MY FUCKING MIND.

I have come to the ultimate conclusion that this is my life for now and I have to filter my reactions to people’s utter lack of understanding and their predominant ability to be stupid.  I have to ask Hubby if what I just replied to someone could be construed as ‘snippy’ or ‘sarcastic’??  Me???   Or if I’m in ‘that mood’ now and should just try to shut up and stop talking? Look the other way?  Turn the other cheek?   I have to ask a neutral party if I’m being nasty or logical.  It sounds perfectly okay to me…but, apparently, it isn’t.  I’m not.  So, distract me by turning my attention to the shiny things and appease me with glasses of wine or chocolate.  Pretty soon I’ll be locking myself in a bathroom so I can’t wield hurtful words or ‘snippy’ retorts (that I’ve come to know and love) at random people with seemingly good intentions and no idea that the nasty ‘M’ is wreaking havoc.

Pass the cookies and the coffee.  The vat of wine over there is keeping me from wielding an axe and jumping aboard a semi with strangers… If I go missing, put a nice picture of me on that bottle of red Merlot.  It’s the least you could do….

I Need A More Stable Roller Coaster Partner

My middle-aged-ness has arrived and I’m reeling between bouts of euphoric elatedness and anxiety-ridden craptastic desperation. It’s like riding the Universe’ version of the roller coaster from Hell with the Joker as my side-kick. He’s laughing at me being totally HAPPY AS SHIT one minute, then PETRIFIED OF LOSING MY LUNCH MONEY TO THE BULLY AROUND THE CORNER, the next. This is what paranoid mania must feel like. I’m thinking Menopause on Crack is a better term. WELCOME TO THE FIFTIES, LADY.

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Ugh.

For instance, I have acne and wrinkles at the same time. The Universe is fucking with my face. I don’t like it.

I’m prone to fleeting outbursts of anxiousness at the slightest provocation. D2: Oh the engine light just came on. Me: WHAT?! OH MY GAWD STOP THE CAR! HOW CAN YOU BE CALM AT A TIME LIKE THIS! DO YOU SMELL SMOKE?! I THINK I SMELL SMOKE. PULL OVER! D2: This is why I drive…

I’m posting childhood pictures of my kids and they don’t like it…which leads to more pictures which leads to more protests…If I could figure out how to transform those VH baby tapes to video, it would be online FACEBOOK GOLD. “Yes, D1 you had red hair…and you still do. AWWWW, look! You’re playing in the toilet.”

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I’ve been incessantly exercising which has given me the unfortunate ability to be REALLY FUCKING HAPPY ALL OF THE DAMNED TIME. Seriously. Except for the times when people are being utterly stupid, I can be a bit overly…perky. It’s annoying even for me. REALLY?! WE’RE HAVING CAKE TODAY?! OH MY GAWD MY LIFE IS MADE!! WHAT?! WE’RE GOING TO HALIFAX FOR 3 DAYS??!! I’VE NEVER BEEN TO HALIFAX FOR A GOOD REASON, LIKE OTHER THAN THE STRESSFUL RN EXAM TAKING THAT WAS TOTALLY ALMOST DISTASTROUS AND DEVASTATINGLY PAINFUL! THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!! Right. I need to take it down a notch.

I’ve also been meal planning and experimenting with some new and ‘interesting’ recipes. Every time I come home and my kidadults see a sheet of printed paper in my hands and a smile on my face, they grow increasingly concerned. “Uh, oh. She’s been researching recipes again….MOM I’M WORKING I WON’T BE HOME FOR SUPPER. FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, BUT THANKS!” Yeah, I’m on to you, kid. MY RECIPES ROCK. Too bad you have bad tastebuds…that chicken soup was GREAT. Ok, maybe a little lacking in taste, but it was GOOD. Ok, maybe a bit brothy and the dumplings were just lumps of soggy flour, but it was at least EDIBLE. Ok, maybe THAT ONE, kinda sucked. BUT THIS NEXT ONE IS GONNA BE GREAT. Maybe. EAT IT ANYWAYS. YOUR MOTHER HAS LITTLE ELSE TO LIVE FOR BUT TO FEED YOU.

The guilt thing usually works.

Other than that, I’m fine. Really. PERFECTLY FINE, THANKS NOW PASS THE WINE BOTTLE AND NO ONE GETS HURT.

Happy Friday…