Out of this world mad

Author: natalie  //  Category: It's all about me

I’m not quite sure what’s up with my little corner of the universe. Just seems I’m battling on too many fronts and on my way to dying from a thousand little cuts by having this way creep into normalcy. What really bothers me is that I’m one of the most optimistic people I know. When I cease seeing the bright side, alarms go off in a tiny corner of my mind.

Plus, I reminded co-workers of the late Eddie Chiles whose trademark radio sign-on was, “I’m Eddie Chiles, and I’m mad as hell!” Learned I needed an “I’m mad too, Eddie” bumper sticker, too.

It took hearing something a little goofy on the radio for me to get a slight grasp on what the problem might be.

Recall last week how I went on a bit of a tirade over petty behavior at a local junior school.

It’s little things like that driving me bonkers! And it’s not that I care so much over such ridiculous behavior as I’m annoyed over how much space I give that garbage in my head.  My family and I have far bigger turkeys to roast.

Put in most basic terms: I’m quite fed up and irritated by folks who get their under bloomers in a twist over things that in the grand scheme don’t matter a lick. And yeah, I realize we all have very individual preferences on what’s important and worth wasting . . .uh, spending time on. But I digress.

Getting back to the radio program, there was a funny discussion about “First World Problems”. I had never heard that term and when callers added to the discussion I got a chuckle.

First-world problems are frustrating little annoyances only those of us living in developed, wealthy (by comparison) nations “suffer” from.

Think internet being down, food server getting an order slightly off or the ever popular trying to get the ceiling fan adjusted just right in combination with warm blankets and the heater running. 

Then it hit me how aggravated I really was over others’ silly aggravations and how they frequently dump a hefty bag of that trash at my mental doorstep. And with my court-jester-hat bells jingling, I run to open the door and let it all pour in.

Shame on me, and know I’m busy constructing a gate at said doorstep.  There will be a super-secret entry code.  Of course all of you will have it.

I feel super blessed and privileged to live in a first-world location where petty annoyances are possible because unlike those in third-world countries, my most immediate concerns are not where I’ll get clean water, a safe place to sleep or my next meal.

But it’d sure be out-of-this world special if I could learn not to let others’ petty ways become my first-world problem.  Until I do, I’m mad too, Eddie!

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Sour grapes and pasta

Author: natalie  //  Category: Baytown, Texas

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to dine upon this oddly-paired meal. I ask that the food is blessed to the nourishment of our bodies and that the Big Guy be with me as I lay my soul bare and purge pure evil from my heart whilst dining with friends. Oh…and bless the hands that prepared these tasty morsels (that one’s for you, Dad), amen.

Now that I’ve blessed the food, allow me to forewarn: What I’m likely to say past this point may be offensive and cause some to believe I was being wholly irreverent above. Not true. Only a higher power can help me move beyond my anger. And because you folks have become such great friends to me, I like to share my highs and my lows.

Today, I’m serving up sour grapes and spaghetti  straps.

To backtrack a little, please know there is no job I take more seriously than parenting my three cherubs, the oldest of which will be 20 soon. I say that to illustrate I’ve been at the mom thing for a good while. Some may argue whether or not I’ve been successful, but I can look myself in the mirror and know while missing perfect by miles, I’ve given (I’ll never be done) it my best.

And just when I thought I’d encountered it all…

Way back when, a fairly stringent junior high dress code was adopted for GCCISD. Not quite uniforms, but close.

I didn’t really like that dress code when my boys got to that age, but I liked the theory behind it of how those years were especially tough and the focus needed to be on education and not a fashion show.  Anyway, I managed to get two boys through those years with nary a wardrobe issue.

Someone(s) somewhere decided last spring to open up that dress code as the specificity of the color combinations was not uniform across the district and parents moving a child from one campus to another were unduly financially burdened by having to replace the child’s clothing.

OK. Got it. Made perfect sense.

So, starting this fall, junior high kids were once again open to explore fashion beyond a collared polo or school T-shirt coupled with appropriate pants.

But alas there are gray areas.

And dare I say personalities, interpretation and even what type of day someone may be having all factor in to what’s “acceptable”. 

Thinking back on how the old dress code in part sought to have students see each other as fellow classmates and human beings as opposed to fashion plates, I found it ironic that the dehumanizing was back already…only from a different source.

I’d complain to the powers that be, but the drill is for higher ups to get in line to support questionable decisions in the name of … I don’t know what. 

What I do know is that five weeks into the school year and on picture day my youngest wore a spaghetti-strapped ruffled top with a down-to-her-wrists cardigan sweater over it, full-length jeans (WITH NO HOLES) and silver rhinestone sandals. She looked beautiful in the outfit she’d already worn to school twice before and was ready to smile for the camera.

I must pause here and state for emphasis: The only skin showing on her was her face/neck, hands and part of her feet. 

No matter. I got a phone call within minutes of arriving home and needing to be at an appointment that she’d need alternate attire as the whole outfit was “inappropriate”. No spaghetti straps even if they’re covered by an outer garment and jeans with even the tiniest decorative “fray”… unacceptable.

 Her jeans were not frayed. And having her remove the cardigan to inspect what was underneath? Really? It’s infuriating and sad. 

I was unable to jump and run, but they’d lock her away in in-school-suspension where she’d miss valuable instructional time until I could get there.

 Angry does not begin to describe me.  Removing a child from class and threatening me into moving faster was petty and uncalled for. My daughter lost valuable learning time and I lost the last shred of respect I had remaining for administrators at that campus.

And I’ll go ahead and fess up: I hung up on the office lady I spoke to at the school after telling her it was “flipping ridiculous” out on the loud speaker for the whole school office to enjoy.  That was unlady-like, uncouth and most unbecoming of the person I strive to be. But this coupled with other issues was the last straw.

I apologized in person when I delivered replacement clothing.

No doubt my rant will be laughed off and labeled sour grapes by school folks. So be it.

I could provide a pasta feast for all of Baytown if I gathered up all the spaghetti strapped undershirts off GCCISD staff and students alike on any given day. Someone(s) decided they needed to wield their power and it hit me at a particularly bad moment.

Sour? You bet. But I’ll still bless the hands that prepared the grapes for me.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

I just wanna fly

Author: natalie  //  Category: Baytown, Texas

It’s that time! The hummingbirds are here! I could sit and watch them all day.

Listening to them is pretty nice, too. They have a sweet chirp that never fails to put a smile on my face.

Those tiny creatures coupled with the time of year —Halloween in the air—make me feel a tad whimsical. And for a first-born stick in the mud, that’s a pretty big deal.

I feel a certain kinship with the hummingbirds as they dart to and fro. Most days I feel like that’s how I move—quickly and in too many different directions.

Folks observing would swear I was merely flitting about, but that’s not the case as I’ve lived long enough to learn it’s far easier to be hard at work than to give off only the appearance. That said: My physical movement is a slow-poke compared to what’s going on up in the old noggin.

 And the sounds I make, somehow I’m pretty certain a lot of my chirping (some close to me might call it carping) doesn’t induce smiles. I should work on that.

But what I’d really like to be able to do is fly like those little hummingbirds —as in actually sprout wings and soar through the clouds without being encapsulated in an airplane. If I could be shimmery and iridescent like a hummingbird, all the better.

Seems like life would be so much simpler if I could rise above the fray and make a beeline so fast all distractions besides the prized nectar became a blur.

I could probably use some lessons on how to get through prolonged life or death flight—like flying across the entire Gulf of Mexico without stopping—as well.  Or maybe I just need to learn to save the stamina for the things that are most important.

If only the tiny hummingbird could speak and tell me all its secrets. Who knows, maybe I could tell them a thing or two as well.

Not to mention I’d really like an answer straight from the birds’ mouths regarding those cute little feeders we put out: nectar dyed red or not? Silly details like that sometimes keep me awake.

But as much as I’d love to flutter some real wings, pretty sure I’ll have to settle for the seat of my britches variety of flying. Sadly, I’m not good at that…which causes the carping, which leads to me being called a flyer all right.

I won’t even need to hunt down a Halloween costume, but maybe I’ll get a new, iridescent and shimmering first-born broomstick in the mud!

We have bigger-sized problems

Author: natalie  //  Category: Issues, National

I don’t drink much soda pop, never have and I’m pretty certain I never will.

Most of it’s just too sweet for me, so when I do indulge it tends to be Diet 7-Up or Sprite Zero, but those supposedly have their perils, too.

But because New York’s Mayor Bloomberg banned “large” sodas—defined as featuring more than 16 ounces of the bubbly liquid—from restaurants, street cars and movie theaters, I want to walk the streets of New York sipping an entire jug of the most calorie-laden one I can find!

I get it. Obesity is a costly problem both economic and human. But research abounds that trying to rule and regulate such a thing is unlikely to have any substantive effect on public health or weight.

That aside, what’s more disturbing about the trend of Bloomberg, who has imposed other dietary regulations, is, well… I’ll let him tell it.

In speaking to the United Nations general assembly, he said that, “Governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option.” Sigh.  He continued with, “That is ultimately government’s highest duty.” Really?

Again, I get it. Being too big for our collective britches is a big—pun intended—problem.  But this smacks —pun not intended—of government overreach. Allow me to Biggie-Size my sigh. SIGH.

Anyway, the more annoyed I got over the implications of sheeple accepting this drivel “for the public good”, I got to thinking: We have been hearing about our plus-sized, impending — and already here in many locales—epidemic for the better part of the last decade.

And while the problem started here, it’s no longer isolated to the United States. Worldwide waistlines are expanding. Scholarly folks who study such things are likening it to changes two centuries ago when Europeans shot up 30 centimeters or more in height.

Are we watching the human species go through an evolutionary change?

I’ll go off on a slight tangent and smooth some feathers: I’m not talking monkey-to-man evolution (although it could be well argued we’re devolving man-to-monkey, but they may insult primates . . . I can’t win) but rather changes in a species adapting to its environment.

And our environment is abundantly supplied with easily-accessible food . . . and couches to rest our tater-shaped selves on.  No one believes that’s going to be a positive for the human race.

Evolutionary changes are typically imperceptibly slow. But in modern fashion, it’s seemingly in fast forward. In a macabre way, it’s fascinating how in less than two generations we’re seeing changes that have previously taken hundreds or thousands of years.

Scientists say the increase in height 200 years ago stayed with us, and this expansion in girth will, too.  I suppose someone, somewhere has figured out how to keep supplying our seemingly insatiable appetites. I’m a little sad that I won’t live to see it all unfold.

Larger, hungrier minds will have to sort it all out. Because while I agonize over many Biggie-Sized problems, I’m quite happy to report that how much soda you drink never crosses my mind, nor should it.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

I wanna think in the box

Author: natalie  //  Category: Baytown, Texas

As we near October, my inner child screams to come out and play. With last weekend’s cooler snap her demands were deafening. I did the only sensible thing: put sneakers on her feet and ran after her. She’d have driven me crazy otherwise.

We had a splendid time taking in the morning sights and sounds of such a beautiful day, but one snapshot in particular took the adult me way back.

Thinking “outside the box” has become modern-business cliché, and I’d wager most of us even find ourselves using such creative strategies to navigate even the most mundane details of our personal lives.

I don’t know about you, but I have to create sophisticated diversions to deal with distractions. How crazy is that?

Anyway, while sashaying through the neighborhood little Natalie—disguised in her grown-up body—came upon two little (4-5 years old) boys playing in/with an empty clothes-washing-machine box.  

Her attention was initially captured by a special belly-rolling laugh – the kind strictly produced by the tickling of somersaulting innards. What fun they were having.

With a man-I’d-sure-like-to-join-them gleam in her eyes, she watched as they took turns rolling each other over after carefully closing the box-flap lid and giggling out, “ready?”

Inevitably, the box contents would spill out in rather carefree but dramatic, wiggly, and comedic fashion.

A broad smile overtook my grown-up face just before little me forced an out-loud laugh. I was trying to remain unnoticed by the players, but that kind of laughter is contagious.

I was momentarily transported to a simpler time when a box was a fortress impenetrable by anything save for the desire to crawl out, travel for snacks and return with the magic markers that would bring some musings to life.

A rocket ship became a boat, which became a castle and then . . . the possibilities were endless, and so it seemed was time.

With a blank slate, yet closed in, novelty and utility came together in so many ways they couldn’t “outside the box”. And dare I say because I spent time inside I was more prepared for exploring the outside.

So many times simple, close, and right-in-front-our face trumps far-out and complicated.  Things are easier when you know a little versus knowing a lot. That whole paradox of choice –too many options leading to paralysis—comes into play. Not having much wiggle room is oddly liberating.

For all the time I now spend coming up with ways to navigate all that entails life, I’d like to spend some time thinking inside the box.

Please come and flip me over so that I may fall out all giggly with nary a care. Then you can climb in and I’ll return the favor. Ready?

2012 Natalie Whatley

 

It’s a beautiful thing

Author: natalie  //  Category: Life with children

Thank goodness school is back in session. And that ringing of the school bell and seeing all the kids head back conjures up all sorts of thoughts.

By summer’s end I crave a schedule and routine almost as bad as I’ll desire an unstructured life come May. That’s how my pendulum swings.

But as much as I like knowing what’s coming next, I’ll still be a copycat of the much younger set and take recess. I can run, skip and bounce my pigtails with any kind of shenanigans I see fit.

There’s a great poem about how we learn all we ever really need to know in kindergarten. If you’ve never read it, have a look, truer words have never been spoken. But in conjunction with that, we also learn a great deal on the playground . . . having recess.

In light of school testing that has become the end all, be all in modern education, sadly, recess has been disappearing from the lives of children. How counterproductive. I could go on a real rant about it, but that’s not really where I intended for this to go so I’ll refrain.

Much like beauty being in the eye of the beholder, sometimes having fun requires a shift in perspective, and learning there are cycles of work and play. Who among us doesn’t need to learn that some sustained attention will be rewarded with some letting off of steam? Or that work can be made fun by a shift in one’s attitude?

I’m quite proud to say I’m a master at making the mundane enjoyable. How else could I survive fifteen and a half years as a domestic engineer? And it’s a learned skill, I think.

I have all the playground equipment I’ll ever need installed in a nifty little spot between my ears. I can take recess whenever and however I want. All my best pals are there, too. Everyone gets along. Sunshine, butterflies and 72 degrees happily coexist. Or I can play alone.

And the real things taught me a thing or two as well.

Life see-saws back and forth…sometimes I’m up and sometimes I’m down, and that’s OK.

There are times I have to struggle to climb a tall ladder, only to feel the exhilaration of sliding down after all that hard work.

Then other times things swirl around in really fast merry-go-round circles, but I know it will eventually slow and even stop.

It all gave me a reference point. And even if I’m supposed to be doing something else nobody knows I’m recessing. I’ll come back when I’m good and ready. Shoot, I might even pick up my ball and go home!

I burn off all sorts of restless energy which allows me to settle in and do what needs doing.

We don’t have to miss recess and it doesn’t have to be all in our heads, either. We can decide to have fun and/or enjoy anything we want to. We can have a carefree mindset and frolic through just about anything.

Any one of us can take recess in our minds . . . any time we see fit. And thank goodness for now, no one can take it away. That’s a beautiful thing.

 © 2012 Natalie Whatley

Belaboring a point

Author: natalie  //  Category: Issues, National

In this 2012 election-year season all I can think about when the politicians get wound up is how ultimately it’s up to me . . . and you, too.

Of course I’m not talking about the major problems that plague our nation and even more broadly modern mankind, but rather our immediate day-in, day-out existence.

We have a lot of control and yet we’re all guilty at times of looking to others to improve our lot.

And as it turns out we all get this long end-of-summer weekend to celebrate and reflect on what it is that still keeps the majority of us in good standing with the universal law of hard work paying off.

Sophocles – one of the most influential ancient Greek writers who specialized in tragedy – got it right with a pretty basic comment: “Without labor nothing prospers.” Ain’t that the truth?

And I bet those of us gathered here are aware of how very tragic it is that some of our brethren don’t get it.

It’s a frustration that often makes smoke billow from my ears.

On the one hand I think too many have come to expect something for nothing, but if I scrape a little deeper it’s something even more sorrowful: Some folks have just plain never experienced the deep satisfaction that is independence and the ability to stand on one’s own two feet.

And I can’t imagine feeling that exhilaration not causing people to want another hit.

But anyway, tomorrow is a day set aside here in the good old U.S. of A to honor working people and celebrate the economic and social contributions as well as the achievements of American workers.

That American worker is seen the world over as a unique breed with polar opposites: We put in more work hours and spend less leisure time than our out-of-country counterparts, but yet I contend we also house some of the laziest on the planet.

Probably more of us fall in between than is realized.

And because I know so many of you reading are in the workforce (stay at home moms and caregivers count too!!) or have done your time and retired from it, I honor you today and celebrate your accomplishments and perseverance.

You are what makes the world go ‘round.

So, kick back tomorrow and do something relaxing.

Take a break from your job, whatever it may be and for heaven’s sake don’t listen to any political punditry about how you need to vote.

We all know it’s a bunch of hot air, anyway because as my daddy likes to tell me, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

And I get suspicious of anyone who tries to convince me otherwise.

Hard work works out just fine every time it’s tried.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

 
 

Looking dumber aleady

Author: natalie  //  Category: Baytown, Texas

After ample wailing, gnashing of teeth and being dragged kicking and screaming into the current decade, I bought a Smartphone.

Yes, technologically-challenged me went from a very basic flip phone, which had become downright embarrassing to have out in public, to the Apple iPhone.  It’s sort of amazing I’m not in traction and suffering from a serious case of whiplash after such a drastic change.

As of this writing I’ve had it 4 days . . . long enough to feel stupidly confident in my ability to operate said piece of modern miracles. Why I’m talking, texting and wasting ti . . . no, playing all sorts of habit-forming games and shopping for ultra-useful apps.

It was a move a long time coming, but when my parents got iPhones and made fun of my stone-and-chisel way it was past time.

The move was mostly painless save for the bit of sticker shock as I upgraded kids’ phones at the same time (I’m presently enjoying surely short-lived, coolest-mom-ever status), but I was sold one that’s “user friendly” and a “good starter Smartphone”.  

Picture me with cellular training wheels, pigtails, and popsicle juice dripping down my arm. I’m trying to take it all in quickly, but I know a little is melting away.

Verizon’s ever-patient Ronnie Chaidez walked me through it all and made what I was sure would be akin to Garth Road traffic at lunchtime or maybe the lesser pain of a root canal, pleasant.

My only complaint, really, is that I can’t plug the thing directly into my own cranium. I mean, there are entire books written on how to fully use the capabilities. Much like my brain usage, I’ll only use a mere fraction of what the hand-held cell phone/computer can do.  

I have issues being totally dependent on a machine – mostly because I know they die and otherwise malfunction. I don’t like being up that proverbial creek without a paddle as I have nearly drowned in it before when precious work and information was forever lost.

And I know all you geeks out there are screaming “back that stuff up, woman!” . . . I know, I know. But I don’t always follow instruction well. I’m stubborn and get in a hurry.

                Besides, a girl needs something to whine about and be rescued from —makes the menfolk in her life feel needed and important.

It really is the highest form of adoration when I hand over my electronics, smile ever-so-sweetly and say “fix it”. And the peacock strutting after said repair is pretty cute, too.

Besides learning how to use the most basic of functions on my new gadget, I’ve also learned that as smart as it is, it can make me look plenty foolish when it attempts to read my mind. (As if . . .  it’s often a mess in there and even I can’t make sense of the contents at times.)

That said, I learned a new word: smartphOWNED. That’s when your Smartphone auto-corrects what’s said in a text message with what it thinks you’re trying to say. It can have some funny and embarrassing implications. You know in 4 short days I have already been a hapless victim and provided a few chuckles.

The phone’s smartness is making me look dumber already.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

An update

Author: natalie  //  Category: Baytown, Texas

Every once in a great while, I feel the need to give updates, or life isn’t dishing out anything terribly exciting enough for newspaper fodder. Then there are the things that are maybe a little too exciting to share with the masses. It’s a delicate balance I aim to strike.

That said, recall last week I had been mysteriously cut off from outside communication as my phone and internet service went kaput. That outage suspiciously occurred after I penned words regarding my displeasure over incessant election-time phone calls. Someone wanted to get my attention. It hurt, but I’m still standing.

Verizon showed up after a one-week wait and I’m happy to report the Whatley Household is back in hooked-up-to-the-universe business. Funny, I was just getting used to —and starting to enjoy— being unhooked.

The cold-turkey withdrawal was initially painful, but we all got over it much easier than I anticipated.  The kids even drug out board games, or maybe it was “bored” games.

However, the outage still remains a mystery (still believe there’s a conspiracy involved), even though Verizon workers offered up an explanation: A wire was cut during old-fence destruction and new-fence construction at the Whatley Estate.

I have no problem admitting it may have been our fault, but I’m still puzzled over how that fence project which caused us all aching backs in March caused outage in August.  It’s a mystery—one that will remain unsolved to my demise I believe.

On another front, I left you all hanging on the edge of your seats some weeks ago regarding a slithering uninvited visitor (hey . . . my political phone callers were slithering and uninvited too!) in the Highlands home of Ms. Gladys “Granny” Adcox.

I heard from Gladys via real, handwritten letter (what a treat!) regarding the sneaky snake. To date he, or I suppose it could be a she, has not been located. 

I’ll reiterate my previous statement: Gladys is tough as nails. I’m afraid I’d have to vacate the premises forever, or at the very least until said serpent was located . . . preferably dead, but I’d live with alive and relocated.

And switching gears yet again, Jeremy, the middle child, is still truck shopping. It’s going to be a mighty happy day when that process ends, which I’m thinking may be never.  He keeps working and saving . . . and upgrading what he wants to buy for himself. I’m proud of him, but oh-so weary from being on the constant lookout for potential wheels meeting all of his specifications.

 

Last but not least, I have somewhat loosened  my stance on being dragged into using new technology kicking and screaming. I now own a Kindle Fire — tablet computer and e-reader rolled into one. I said I’d never go there because I truly love the feel of a book in my hands, but I’m adjusting. Shoot, I might even delve into a smartphone. What’s happening to me? Apparently not much this week.  

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

The time traveler will get my vote

Author: natalie  //  Category: Issues

Roughly three more months. I’m not sure I can take it.

I know I’m among friends . . . No, I consider you folks family, so I’ll get right to it and let you know straight out I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve suffered sensory overload. Thusly, (love that word often used by the great Jim Finley who I’m honored to share this page with) as I sat down to pen this column a big, whopping nothing came directly to mind.

Oh, there’s plenty to talk and/or commiserate about, but it’s as if my mental pipes are clogged and no one thing really wants to break loose.

The Olympics: Sure, stories of great human feats buoyed by raw determination. I don’t even feel qualified to comment as I can’t recall ever making or asking my family to make such huge sacrifices for any similar lofty-level goal. Not to mention, I don’t really care to watch it all. TV is a colossal time waster in my book.

The Colorado movie-theater shootings: The story grows more tragic each day. My heart and prayers go out to the families suffering over loss of life and a forever-changed existence. But I’ve also been pretty angered over the gun-control rhetoric I knew the tragedy would spawn. All I’m going to say is some people just don’t get it. And I know those folks will think the same about me. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

“Oprah shows off her natural hair: Winfrey ditches her usual sleek tresses for her magazine’s makeover issue”.  At first I thought this was totally undeserving of mention, but it speaks of what I was going through as I tried to distract myself from the influx of what today we call TMI . . . too much information.

Tuesday was a run-off election day and I can’t recall any other political contest that has annoyed me more. I have a sneaking suspicion the run-up to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2012 is going to tax my patience even further.

By this past week I was exhausted by hauling in the daily mailings that I swear were the same thing day after day. How much money was wasted and the landfill further filled by stuffing mailboxes for two months straight?

I would have incinerated it all myself, but my neighborhood — and the City of Baytown for that matter—frowns upon large bonfires in a residential area. Although, roasting the mailers over an open . . . uh, never mind. I’m probably about to get myself in trouble.

Did they honestly think I’d read all that? And even if I did, this Jane Q. Public has no way of knowing who to believe. It all sounded so elementary-playground childish. Sigh. If only the stakes weren’t so high.

And as if the above mail chore didn’t have my ire adequately stirred when all I wanted was some reprieve from the incessant whining, my phone rang constantly—even after my bedtime. Yeah, the guy or gal who annoys me the most is sure to win my vote. (Eye roll)

The most maddening part of all: I was “awarded” all that attention simply because I vote . . . every time, consistently, in the “off” years, and in primaries. It’s a sad state, but it’s almost enough to make me stop. That I feel that way angers me even more.

Roughly three more months.  I’m not sure I can take it.

But I’ll vote for the candidate who sends mail and calls promising to take me straight to the day after the November election.