Monday, December 28, 2009

WPBT - Sunday

This is the day where I am physically and mentally exhausted, and yet not ready to go home. I am overtired, overstimulated, underfed, underhydrated, and yet I want more.

I am awake early, again. Not by alarm, but by that nervous energy, as if I might miss something if I let myself sleep too late. I try sleeping, but between the texts from those on their way to the Lagasse Stadium for the games, the friends who will be leaving early, and my general restlessness, I finally fall out of bed, and prepare myself for the day.

Its a purple day. After such a fantastic record against my pal Drizz and his miserable Vikings, I have succumbed to the ultimate loss - not only did the Packers lose to the Vikings this year (twice), they did it at the hands of their former quarterback - Mr. Favre himself. It's dual humiliation, but I'm a woman of my word and a woman of dignity - I intend to lose properly.

* * * * *

I did it 100%. Purple bra, purple lace panties (the lucky few were permitted to see a sliver of the evidence). Purple camisole, and purple chandelier earrings. Monster purple stilettos with my jeans. I threw on a sweater over top, knowing that Drizz would have the final garment when I got there.

I donned it as gracefully as I could, and even posed for the appropriate pictures, to be posted later. Including one where I stare longingly at the beautiful #4 jersey in green and gold behind the glass. *Sigh*

* * * * *

Sunday was like having your pals over to your house. You're really kick-ass house with the best TV/game room you could imagine. If your house had scantily clad waitresses in pseudo-sports gear serving beer and wings all day and a bathroom with a mirrored ceiling.

But because it felt like home, in a way, it was an easy way to wind down. Catch a few more snippets of conversation with people you don't see often enough. Hug the ones who left early. Catch a nap laying on the hip of your favorite chica. Have a long, emotional girl chat, topped off by a breather on the patio at the Palazzo catching the last of the day's sunshine while you compared this season's "must-haves" lists.

Eventually I had to leave too, and I found myself emotional about going. Thinking Kat and I should really live closer. Thinking that having CK run her fingers through my hair while we lounged around watching football on Sunday would be ok. Thinking that even if I had to wear purple every Sunday, it might be worth the price to hang with Drizz and OhCaptain more frequently (note the "might" . . . ). I squeezed in another few hugs, here and there. Traded a few more kisses. Thanked Waffles for the books, again. Petted Iggy's hair, once more. Took a few more pictures for posterity's sake, and then was in a taxi back to the airport with DrChako.

* * * * *

It took much longer to wind down this year, and to get over the letdown of being with friends. I can't explain. Maybe the events of the year have just taken a higher toll, emotionally, on me, and I needed the break more than ever before. Maybe this time, even though I've always opened my heart to all, maybe this time, I let a few more of you even deeper in there than before.

So when are we doing this again?

Can't wait to see you next time . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, December 27, 2009

WPBT - Saturday (in which Mrs Chako loses the tournament and her virginity)

When we last left our heroine, she was busy spreading the love amongst her gal pals, kissing her guy pals, reveling in hair metal covers, and donking off a few chips to her annoyingly chipper husband and a barely awake Drizz at the GVR. Sleep did not come easy to her . . . was she overtired? Overstimulated? Or just too excited about the possibilities of winning the golden hammer on Saturday . . . we rejoin Mrs Chako as she recounts Saturday at the WPBT . . .

Waking up without the assistance of an alarm clock before 9 am in Vegas is breaking a rule, I am sure. Like rule 27a (I think 27b is "being up at 9 am in Vegas is acceptable if you have not yet gone to sleep from the previous night"). DrChako joined me in my early morning waking foolishness and we actually got up and got dressed to head over to the tourney.

Mrs Chako Goes to the Tourney

Given the outcome, I could just shorten this to, I lost. But that's not very literary, so I'll give you the extended recap.

The Dr and I grabbed some quick lunch, and ran into others like PokerPeaker and Falstaff and Stb on their way to the tourney, and they joined us in the food court. I think I ate maybe a quarter of my wrap, as my lack of sleep was doing a number on my stomach. I managed to goose BamBam (paybacks are hell) on the way into the tourney, as well, which was a good start to the day.

I started the tourney off on a good note; Waffles was a peach and brought me two new sci-fi books from a series he thought we'd enjoy. Given that I may grow old and die before George R.R. Martin completes the last book in the Song of Ice and Fire series (which I've had to re-read THREE times to catch myself back up, waiting for book 5), I'm happy to have a new something to read when I get some down time. Thanks, Waffles - I owe you one!

I was actually excited about the possibility of moneying . . . either in the tourney, or the last longer challenge. I'd never final tabled (having only played twice), but I'm slow and steady (like the tortoise) and I figured with some skill, luck, and patience, I could make it deep. I also figured I'd serve our last longer team (I've Kissed One of These Girls) of myself, CK and F-Train well, by helping balance out our total team position. I figured with those two, I had a pretty good chance of taking some money home.

Unfortunately, my history of lasting (and outlasting my hubby and friends) was not to be matched. I had a great starting table with old friends and new, but had to watch both Drizz and Pebbles get busted out early, no thanks to Derek who apparently had pocket aces in his sleeve to play whenever he felt malicious and like the playing field was a little too fat. The man had them no less than 3 times while I was there, which wasn't long.

I couldn't pull it out. I lost most of my chips to LJ . . . once when she did not heed the betting of the most notoriously tight woman on the table . . . with two clubs out there, amidst an A and a K (both of which I had in my hole cards), she hung in with her 93 of clubs to hit the flush on the river, which took about half my remaining stack. (I think CK says "crubs always get there" . . . I should have listened) The blind structure took a stab at me, and with a pretty small "M", I found myself with pocket 7s and went all in. It was LJ, in the blind, who said . . . "Well, ok" and called with her AQ offsuit. If we only played this game to the turn, I would be SO in the money. But there is apparently a fifth card. Most of you call it the river. I'm just going to call it the F-me card. Ace hit the river, and all said their goodbyes to me.

Mrs Chako Loses the Tourney

I stood up to go deliver the bad news to Dr Chako, when I noticed Peaker stand up too. I was torn between being pissed that I hadn't outlasted Peaker (not that he's a bad player, I'm just competitive, even with friends), and being pissed that my husband had outlasted me and had a decent-sized stack! The ego was bruised, and I headed out of the tournament room, unsure of my plans for the rest of the day (I've never had to plan this much down time).

Peaker and I were commiserating, and were joined by Drizz, who'd been consoling himself with some games and some drinks. Pebbles passed by, and we shared the camaraderie of decent players who didn't do as well as we wanted or were capable of doing. We chatted and pondered our next move. Food? Poker? Food? Poker? I kinda wanted to do the MGM and get some food. Drizz was flexible, and Peaker was leaning food. Drizz, after a pondering longer, finally convinced himself he wanted to stay and play Caesar's; I was still disenchanted after losing, and thought maybe food and a little distance from Caesars would make me happier, so Peaker and I decided to make our way in the direction of the MGM, in search of food and potentially a poker game.

We debated about the route and the best way to get where we wanted to go. I was still disenchanted, a little tired, and I suggested cab. Peaker, the athlete he is, subliminally suggested that I was a pussy for wanting to take the cab (I know you didn't SAY those words, but I felt it), so he suggested we take the monorail. That seemed perfectly logical to me, and seemed to involve little effort, particularly given that I was wearing high-heels. Except he insisted on taking stairs through all the casinos instead of escalators, because that is how guys who climb mountains do it. So by the time we reached the monorail, I'd had a full days exercise.

Now here is where, if you don't want your image of me tarnished, you must stop reading. I did something illegal. Peaker used his monorail pass . . . and I just slipped through the turnstile behind him. Yep. Just like that. Criminal. Ah, if you only knew the depths of my depravity . . . monorail turnstile hopping is just a stepping stone to big time criminal activity, I am sure.

We discussed our plans and preferences along the way, and more than once, Peaker suggested I should try a $1/$2 NL game at the MGM. The first time he mentioned it, I figured he was just tossing around ideas. But it continued to come up in the conversation. After much debating about what we wanted to do, we made a plan, which included an early dinner at the MGM buffet, followed by a definitive plan to play poker at MGM when we finished. Again, over the buffet, he brought up the idea again of me playing $1/$2 NL.

Now those of you who know me know I am conservative. And "NL" does not imply conservatism at all. A tournament is different - you've committed your money, and the rest is strategy. But in a NL cash game, every decision has a real cash impact that is unpredictable. Plus, my only experience watching NL of any real consequence has been with my husband. I don't play like my husband, I don't like playing WITH my husband, and I certainly can't stand his level of variability in my bankroll. Had my husband asked me to play, the answer, 99 times out of 100, would be a resounding "NO". We learned our lesson about the wisdom of learning a sport with your husband as a teacher when we experimented with him giving me golf lessons. If you want to solidify the possibility of divorce, have your spouse teach you to golf. 'nuff said.

But here is where either Peaker is very convincing, or I am weak. Or both. We were discussing the logic over dinner, and he pointed out some good things. With the right table, if you played only premium hands, the blind structure allowed you to sit through quite a few hands with no substantial investment, even compared to $2/4 or $3/6 limit. If you got a tight table, there wasn't a lot of raising or craziness, and you could just play good strategy. He convinced me that we had similar playing styles, and that he was comfortable, and he was sure I could be comfortable too. As I sat there picking at my food, watching his lean runner frame eating a pile of mashed potatoes, I tried to think of a good reason not to try it. I was having a tough time coming up with good reasons, and when I looked up, he smiled hopefully at me. It was the smile that did it. Its always the smile.

Mrs Chako Loses Her Virginity

We headed over to the poker room and asked to be seated. He even offered to sit at my table with me, and there happened to be two seats immediately available at a $1/$2 NL table. He has described the table accurately in his recap; it was a pleasant, relatively predictable table, without unwarranted aggression or ridiculousness. Most of the players had been at the table for a while, and by the time we called it a night, there were still a few familiar faces at the table. We had Grandma Poker, with her red hand-embroidered poker sweatshirt (kill me if I ever wear one of those), old conservative guy, Russian/Eastern European guy who liked to put his chips in a specific tower when he went all in, the narcolepsy queen/chatty-Kathy doll who spent the whole time chatting Peaker's ear off, when her meds were working, and then a few rotating characters here and there, including my hubby and Blinders, who managed to stir up some global warming controversy or something which put some folks on political tilt, until he lost a big pot and decided to pack it up.

If I am only results-oriented, I would deem this a failure. I only bought in for $100, but I lost it, plus part of another buy in over the course of the 9 hours I played. But, much like losing your real virginity, if you are only results-oriented, you'll be sadly disappointed and likely decide you're never doing that again because it was painful, awkward, and potentially humiliating. Instead, you should focus on the experience for what it is, take it as learning experience, and be happy you lost it with someone you care about.

So after 9 hours at the table (8 with my pseudo-coach Peaker, until he gave it up and went to bed, and my husband joined the table for another hour before I finally needed sleep), I'm considering adding $1/$2 NL to my regular repertoire of games.

First, it was great to be at a table with a good friend. We spent time chatting with each other, our friendly table mates, and texting back and forth, sharing the potential opportunities that abounded amongst our WPBT brethren. We were also close enough to the edge of the room that we were in a prime place to say hi to other bloggers as they joined us in the poker room or passed through the MGM on the way to some other activity.

Second, it was great to be at a table with someone you're comfortable sharing information with (after the hands were dead, of course) who does have similarities in playing styles. For my own learning, I could watch how he played out certain hands and certain positions, could follow up with him later, or could learn what our opponents would call down with. When I was in a pot with him, I learned to be much more attuned to the range of hands he could have against me, and learned which ones I could push, and which ones I had to get out of. We rarely tangled together, as we'd learned to figure out when we were strong and when we were weak. Peaker is actually pretty good at putting others on hands, and correctly called a couple of folks hands, which is always a fun party trick to watch, but also helps me develop that kind of skill.

Third, I also got the benefit of listening to him deconstruct hands with Chatty Kathy, who'd been at the table even longer than the two of us. He thinks she was just a nice person and a little medicated (true), but I also think she was thinking she scored when the cutest guy at the table sat next to her (I would like to clarify that a. even though he could hold his own at most tables, the competition was a little scarce, and b. I had my eye on you, bitch). So she ended up being a teaching experience in and of herself as she played some of her cards a little more aggressively, knowing the playing styles of the others, and shared that with Peaker. She loved AQ, so when she was raising, I was always assessing whether I was stronger than the AQ after the flop.

Finally, I paid more attention to my own play and position in this game, because you don't have the luxury of the bet being limited, and was happy with my decision-making, if not the end results. I generally got out before losing a lot when I was beat, and on the few hands where I was strong, I was happy with my play. I had a couple of tough decision points where I ended up laying down: one where I would have ended up losing a lot; one, where I actually would have won a big pot when my flush draw hit, but squeezed between the big blind and the button, who had both hit trip 9s (I correctly assumed at least one of them had, and was assuming based on the other cards on the table, that at least one of them already had the boat, which neither got), I think I made a good decision that even though I had a straight draw and a flush draw, I didn't want to be drawing to a paired board.

Overall, I was really happy that Peaker was convincing and that I ended up trying a new experience. He is a gentleman at the table and a patient, encouraging "coach" who doesn't try to overteach. He plays solid, uses position, makes decent assessments of his opponents' relative strengths, and was fun to watch, especially when he flopped a set against 2 pair and a smaller set on the flop and raked a monster pot. He helped me analyze my own hands and my own play, without judging or discouraging me. And endurance. The man has endurance. Eight hours at the same table, with Chatty Kathy in his right ear. I bow to your endurance, my friend. Oh. And he's adorable. I might have mentioned that, say, last year. Maybe once or twice or 20 times since then. So let's not discount the fact that I got to sit across from him the whole time. Even when the play sucked, the view was good.

I'm not ready to sit in the midst of my husband, F-Train, CK, and Katkin yet. I've developed a comfort level, but I'm not crazy yet. But next time Peaker asks, I'm definitely game to sit at another $1/$2 NL table with him.

Thanks, "coach," for rescuing my Saturday, and introducing me to a new experience - I'll never forget my first time.

(Ok, I know this is LAST year's picture, but I didn't take a new one this year, and this is a really cute one . . . and he's hugging me . . . take that, Chatty-Kathy)

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Poker Content

Quick tournament question.

You're playing an online tournament - 45 person NLHE SNG. Let's say it for stakes you are comfortable with (for me, that's free money, because I'm trying to do the filing and other tasks at the same time, but pretend the value is still the same as real money). You aren't trying to pay the mortgage with this win.

Prior to the final table (3 or 4 hands prior), guy announces he wants to go to bed. Starts going all in with any two cards. Announces his cards before he plays. "J-9 off". "78 suited". And he's spot on every time.

He manages to knock out a couple guys that way until you're down to the final table of 9, but only 7 places pay. You've been fortunate to have stayed out of most scuffles with him, and you wake up with QQ. You raise an appropriate amount (say 3-4x) which is less than 1/10th of your stack. He has you slightly outchipped, enough to have you covered.

He announces "A5 offsuit" and goes all in.

Knowing that you are ahead pre-flop, assuming he's telling the truth again, do you call for all your chips, and possibly busting out pre-bubble?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Death Considered

There was a good article in the local paper about death today. Talking about our personal and societal attitudes toward death. It struck a chord specifically with me, as I have been working on a story about my grandfather, prior to his death, some 25 years ago.

The article touched on multiple themes, some of which even I don't have a viewpoint that I can articulate well. Like the death of a child. The paper noted that we don't even have a word to describe it. If you lose your parents, you're orphaned. If you lose your spouse, you are widowed or a widower. If you lose your child? There are no words that can explain, justify, soothe such an unfathomable loss. I know "life expectancy" is an average, but statistics tell me that outliers like that don't make sense. May life be good enough to me to outlive my children.

Other death events are actually very comprehensible to me. The centenarian who passes peacefully in their sleep. My great uncle Caesar, who, after 87 years of independent bachelorhood, dropped in front of his stove making himself lunch when his heart just stopped. No fanfare, no pain, no fuss.

I grew up on a farm, far out in the country, where death in one form or another, is plausible, understandable, even expected. And everything you do revolves around that. When livestock are hurt or injured, you evaluate the options on a cost/benefit basis. If the cost of treatment is less than the value of their well-being and productivity, you call the vet. If you can't meet that measure, you get the shotgun. When a kitten is born, sick and too weak to survive, same answer. It's the same answer mother nature would eventually give in the wild. Survival of the fittest.

Don't worry, I am not talking drastic measures, people. I'm just saying that we are very funny when it comes to our mortality, or the mortality of others. We will spend ridiculous amounts of money in this country, both individually, and collectively, through our government and our insurance companies, trying anything to extend our lives, if only for a fraction of time. I had a client who had a cancer product in development that had a groundswell of grassroots support. It didn't cure cancer. Its claim to fame? It extended the life of terminal prostrate cancer patients who had failed other treatments. By about 4 months. Millions of dollars in research. In the hopes to gain 4 months. On the average life expectancy of the US male (75.6 years), that .33 years is an extra .4% of life.

Again, I can't judge anyone's individual choices or circumstances, but I do question our reluctance to face the inevitable in a more logical way, sometimes. Power to my grandmother, who has her cremation plotted out, paid for, with detailed instructions for when the time comes. No need for planning anyone. Bless your heart if you are someone who has selected the organ donor option on your driver's license, or has a valid DNR (do not resuscitate) order so your loved ones don't have to make difficult logical choices at a highly emotional time.

Theoretically, I'm not close to death. I'm hoping statistics play out in my favor, and I get to enjoy my time with family and friends, as intended. But when my time starts to run out, particularly if I have advance warning, I'm hoping that I, and my family, and my friends, and my medical advisers will help me make logical choices.

I've selected the organ donor option . . . you won't need my dead, useless kidneys to keep my memories alive. At least I hope not. On my list of important things is an executed DNR. Fortunately for my grandfather, my grandmother and his children were logical, and knew when the limits of modern medicine could not gain us back any more of the man we once knew.

Maybe in my lifetime, we'll find a way to make euthanasia a logical option in certain circumstances. When Shep, our family dog could hardly walk, and wouldn't eat or drink because the cancer had taken too much from him, that one little syringe seemed like a blessing, even to my 12-year old self. I don't know why our pet collie should have a better option than people dying of painful, incurable diseases. We ought to better support hospice systems, who do their best to let people ease their way out of life with as little pain and as much support for the remaining family member as they can.

Heck, I'm willing to put aside some of my personal convictions. I've never done a drug in my life that wasn't prescribed by a licensed medical professional for its intended purpose (I have other vices) . . . but if I'm terminal and you tell me a little morphine and some medical marijuana are going to make me slip out with a little less pain and a smile on my face? Light one up! Give me a double shot of SoCo while you're at it and lets make it a party.

Every person is unique, and the circumstances of life and death are unique. But lets face it, people - death, itself, is not unique. Death is inevitable. We spend time and effort going to birth classes and making birth plans for every contingency in labor, and we have parties for babies who aren't even here yet. What if we spent that much time planning and preparing for the only known certainty in life - death (*)?

* * * * *

The saddest part of the article, though, was in a vignette of an older woman facing death. She battled her disease for a long time, but when she came to the realization of the inevitable, she gathered her family around her to tell them she loved them. Hers was not, she recounted, a family that said "I love you" very often, so when she said it to her family members, a common response was "we feel the same". How sad, that in life, they had reservations about saying "I love you" such that, facing death, they could only meet those words with "we feel the same."

Maybe you're not ready to give up your organs, or go draft a DNR or living will, or prepay a funeral. But the best planning for the inevitable you can do, now, is to live your life well, enjoy the time you're given, and remember to say "I love you" to the ones you want to hear it back from.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

* I would have gone with the "death and taxes" thing credited to Ben Franklin, but Ben didn't live to see some of the loopholes our government (*cough* conservatives *cough* . . . excuse me, must have a tickle in my throat) has created in the past for some of our wealthiest (non)taxpayers.

Mission (Almost) Accomplished

It's been nagging at me a while. That last room in the house where everything you didn't need immediately seemed to gravitate. The perpetual promise of "I'll get to it later."

I made a promise to myself that with the forced two weeks off from work I would tackle this project and find everything a home and reclaim my home office.

At 11:55 p.m., Christmas night, I hauled the last of 20 bags out to be recycled, along with several boxes and some random electronics that we no longer need or use.

Here is what the fruits of my labor look like . . .

20 bags and various boxes of shredded tax returns, bills, bank statements, credit card statements, and various other personal paperwork, some from 1998 that has followed us from Texas, to Germany, to Seattle and all the way down here.

It wasn't just the sheer volume of paper . . . shredding for three days left extraneous bits of paper all over the office . . . well, really everywhere. It looked like we held a tickertape parade in this little room . . .

I will be haunted by images of these little bits strewn everywhere!

But at the end of the day, I have usable, clean space, and can file my current paperwork in peace. Next week.

Oh, look and admire . . . I know you're all jealous. The good Dr. will finally have a place where he can work when he's down here, and hopefully permanently soon.

I can be had for a price, if anyone needs their office cleaned too . . . just ask the Dr. the going rate. I believe it involves some compensation package including keeping me massaged, keeping me in shoes, keeping me satisfied (yes, I meant that, and it's not as easy as you might think), and giving me full control of your fat paycheck. Not too much to ask, methinks.

I'm done . . . let the weekend commence.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Memories. . .

It's a scorecard from Lodge of the Four Seasons, in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. Circa summer 1994.

You may be noticing my atrocious scores (hey, I'd just started golfing). You may notice the apparent simultaneous "hole in one" score on 13. And then you may notice that I completely stopped golfing after 13th.

Probably because I spent the rest of the round with my golf glove off, admiring a handful of diamonds as they sparkled in the afternoon sun.

Sometimes, it pays to clean house.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Memories in a Box

I'm on a cleaning project. In order to get the Dr. down here with us permanently, we made need to create a more usable home office. Right now our home office is the "room where the stuff we didn't need immediately, and some random computer equipment" is housed. I have a laptop and we have wireless, so I usually connect from the comfort of my room.

I've been organizing it . . . personal paperwork, media, medical texts, you name it. I bought a shredder and will be shredding any old paperwork with personal information on it prior to 2002. But as I get rid of the old, even the boring paperwork, it's bringing up memory after memory . . . most of a life well lived.
  • Postcards from when DrChako and I were still dating . . . I think we'd said "I love you" but marriage wasn't even spoken of . . .
  • My high school diploma
  • Pictures of my brother at age 7 . . . when he still had a full head of hair
  • Our first apartment lease together, in Columbus Georgia
  • The mortgage paperwork from the first home we owned
  • The sale paperwork from the sale of the first home we owned
  • The paperwork from the first "luxury" car we bought . . . a used Lexus.
  • The sale paperwork from when we sold the Lexus to our friends
  • My high school best friend's wedding program . . . where I was a bridesmaid, 20+ years ago, wearing a pink floral tea length dress with crinolines and a large garden hat
  • Our high school graduation announcement
  • Pictures of my cousin Justin as a toddler - he just had his first baby last month.
  • Pictures of old high school friends, including Maile, who to this day I still think is one of the most beautiful women I'd ever known
  • Pictures of 3 of the 4 guys I dated while in high school. The only one I don't have a picture of is the only one I am in contact with today. I keep the other three to remind me of why I didn't marry any of them.
  • A college report card -straight A's
  • A little bluebird charm bracelet from my grandmother when I was a little girl
  • A picture of a cake announcing the birth of my first baby

Cleaning is therapeutic in many ways . . . its a fresh start, a way to rid yourself of the burdens of the past. Apparently, its also a way to wander through those life moments and smile, realizing you're pretty happy where you ended up.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Target Audiences

We needed milk and a few other necessities, so I jumped in the car to do a little shopping. Son #1 isn't quite old enough to babysit, and son #2 is too young to stay by himself, so he gets the honor of the grocery store run.

He does his normal 7-year old chatter, and I'm half listening, half responding as I go through my mental grocery list. We reach the household cleaning goods aisle, and I'm evaluating sponges when I hear him say "oh, these are good."

I turned around to see him near the dishwasher soap display, pointing to some 3-in-1 dishwasher tabs. He looks at me, completely seriously. "These are much easier, Mom."

Since doing the dishes isn't even his chore, I pressed him. "How do you know those are easier?"

"I saw it on T.V."

I tried not to snicker, wondering how Otis' son can be so skeptical of advertising, and my son seems to have absorbed it like a sponge. When I hear him remarking again.

"And Hefty bags. Those are the best." We weren't even buying trash bags, but he continued. "Yeah, you can even put something sharp in them, and it won't poke a hole." The kid doesn't miss anything. I'm starting to wonder if he's on the Good Housekeeping product recommendation committee at this point.

Grabbing the last item we needed from that aisle before we headed to produce, I swung the cart around the corner, but not before I heard him gasp and stop in front of a display basket. "Oooh, Glade motion spray!" I turned around to see him examining the packages. Apparently my disbelief showed on my face, but he took it a little differently.

"No, really, Mom, its got a motion detector and when you walk by it senses you and sprays a good smell. I saw it."

Update your profiles, advertisers. Target audience: women between the ages of 21-45, and 7 year olds who watch too much T.V.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, December 19, 2009


DrChako's back in Seattle working this weekend, so I called him for a normal spousal check-in.

"Whatcha doing?" I asked.

He was planning to play racquetball with MHG and then going to see if he could rustle up some poker or a movie. He asked what was on my agenda.

I recounted my plans and activities of the day. Sleep late. Clean the fridge. Spray for ants. Get a massage. Finish buying holiday presents. Make dinner. Give nanny the night off to go salsa dancing while I stay home and watch cable movies with the boys.

I laughed and said "Wow. Far cry from last weekend. I go from smokin' hot kissing vixen to boring Mom inside of a week."

He laughed and said "You're multi-purpose. You're like the Swiss Army knife of wives."

Take that, bitches.

I'm multi-purpose.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Budding Talent

Last night I was writing my blog post, writing some other fiction, and catching up on emails from friends, while watching some TNT movie on late night cable. Son#1 came down with his blanket and a notebook.

"I've got a bunch of the song written, Mom." He plopped the notebook in front of me. "It's got a blues theme, but I don't have the music yet."

A few nights ago, he told me he had words for a song in his head. I told him that writers should keep a journal by their bed, so that they can start writing when stuff like that is in there.

It wasn't finished, but he had a full page of lyrics. It was written to be a song, complete with a chorus (I got that from the "x3" notation he'd put), as well as the "(instrumental)" that broke the page. I smiled. He's my kid. Even the draft has structure.

At first read, I kinda of smiled. Simple, 12-year old drivel, I thought.

"My first day in school
I feel sorta shy
It doesn't feel cool
to be the lonely guy . . .

Then a thought occurred
Are my friends really true
It is absurd
that I'm being used . . . "

But Mrs. Chako, you're thinking . . . you write 12-year old drivel sometimes. My point exactly. I KNOW 12-year old drivel.

But then I remembered being 12. How everything was magnified. Every emotion was raw and new. Every friendship, sucess, heartbreak, and failure the most monumental thing in your life. Certain that no one before you had ever experienced it just like this. Here he was, articulating that. And for a kid who's musical tastes run with Lady Gaga and Owl City . . . to recognize that it might be more appropriate with a blues riff behind it tells me theres hope for him yet.

Maybe when DrChako gets back down here, they can work out the music. Until then, I just smiled at him.

Thought about telling him that Mommy thinks guys who are writers and write well are hot, hot, HOT!!! Then I realized that might creep him out. Regardless of how true it is. (HOT!)

Thought about telling him about the observation DrChako's friend Colin had about guys who write songs and play music and their ability to acquire . . . well, lets just say hot VP wives. But then I realized he'll figure that out sooner than he needs to anyway, particularly given how handsome he is, so we'll just keep that on the down low too.

So instead I just told him how proud I was that he was experimenting with being a writer like his dad and I.

And I covered him up with his blanket on the couch and let him fall asleep there, his notebook beside him. And kissed him on the head.

Because even when he's a famous writer/songwriter, I'll always be his mom.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife.

Friday, December 18, 2009

WPBT - Friday

Friday was a day of highs and lows, and one of the longest days I've EVER spent. I packed so many things into Friday, I can't believe it - it was like an entire Vegas trip in one day. And I couldn't have ever predicted what was in store for me. Lets see if I can summarize.
  • 1:30 am time for bed.
  • Toss and turn all night. Mind racing. Maybe worried that I miss my 6:45 am conference call.
  • 6:45 am conference call. Boss kinda of feels sorry for me, admits he considered giving me a hall pass, then doesn't. On the phone until 7:45 - with a follow up call scheduled later.
  • Shower, plan to meet Betty for breakfast, and maybe Kat.
  • Find out Betty has overslept and is out. DrChako joins instead.
  • Kat makes it over and joins DrChako and I.
  • DrChako leaves to golf the frozen tundra. We both kiss him goodbye.
  • Have a lovely chat and breakfast with my favorite Canadian girl. We just get closer and closer - wish the geography cooperated more.
  • 10 am conference call.
  • 10:30 am conference call.
  • Text from Peaker to say he's on his way to join me for lunch.
  • Make him wait for conference call that runs long. Lose 45 minutes of time with one of my all-time favorite crushes. First bad beat of the trip.
  • Lunch score? Quality of chat - touchdown. Quantity of time - technical foul. 45 minute delay of game does not help. No dessert. Bad beat number two. I think he still owes me Ghirardelli ice cream. Or a Krispy Kreme.
  • Conference call.
  • Conference call (starting to see the theme?).
  • Conference call follow up.
  • DrChako comes home from golf, drunk.
  • Naps abound.
  • Shower.
  • Cab it to MGM with DrChako.
  • Ditch DrChako. Drinks and munchies with Betty at MGM. Good fondue, and tiny pulled pork sandwiches. Yummy drinks like Mai Tais and something with an excessively sugary rim that went down too smoothly. Twice. 2 1/2 hours of girl chat, punctuated by occasional planning for Steel Panther from friend not allowed in girly-chat.
  • Betty and I make rounds to poker room and chat.
  • Steel Panther fans gather.
  • Table 16 is still entertaining the crowds and each other. The Mark makes devil horns with his massive stacks of chips. Dealers must either love us or hate us.
  • Hard core grinders stay at MGM.
  • Hard core rockers go to Steel Panther.
  • Shane has hooked us up with two booths on the floor. Yayy Shane.
  • Excitement builds.
  • Drinks start.
  • Kissing starts.
  • Music starts.
  • Remember that I have not formally gotten permission from husband.
  • Get permission from husband - kissing resumes.
  • Kiss Falstaff. Kiss CK. Kiss Katkin. Kiss Otis. (starting to see the theme?)
  • Kiss Katkin again. Hug lots of people.
  • Find Dr. Jeff. Explain the kissing permission. He tests it. Reconfirms that I have been given permission. Kisses me again.
  • Music is fun.
  • CK crawls in between Otis and CJ.
  • I step over Peaker to sit between him and Otis.
  • Kiss Otis again. Kiss CK. Kiss CK again. CK and I kiss Otis. Rooster takes pictures. Rooster later deletes pictures.
  • Realize I'm actually talking to Otis's less-functional alter-ego, SPOtis (Steel Panther Otis). SPOtis is more adventurous and willing . . . but I think I my heart belongs to real Otis.
  • Peaker gets up and give his spot to Dr. Jeff. I kiss Dr. Jeff again. He shows me pictures of his new baby. Awwwww.
  • SPOtis does his best indecent proposal. Without the $1 million (*). Soon after, CJ makes sure he makes it back to the hotel.
  • Rockin' out ensues.
  • Rooster finds a way to have himself escorted from the facility.
  • More rockin' out ensues.
  • We dance. CK and I dance. Everyone dances.
  • I take pictures. OhCaptain takes better pictures.
  • I massage BadBloods beautifully shaved head.
  • I think I kiss some more people. Can't remember who. Not drunk, just tired and overstimulated. Realize I didn't kiss some people. Speaker. Peaker. OhCaptain. CJ. Drizz. More. So many people to kiss, so little time.
  • Rockin' out ceases.
  • Blogger pokering begins at our own personal table in the GVR poker room.
  • Drizz and DrChako spend all their time building giant mountains out of their multiple racks at a $2/4 hold 'em table.
  • Drizz's AA sucks the life out of my KK. No other good hands.
  • Have to tune out my husband's drunken incessant chatter, even though it entertains Peaker. Drizz is on the last hour of his "last longer" no-sleep bet. Even with the new audio equipment, he is unfazed.
  • Drizz wins his stay awake bet.
  • We disband and go back to our respective hotels. I've lost money.
  • F-Train and CK are perfect chauffeurs.
  • I get to ride in the back between DrChako and Peaker. With no functioning seatbelt. Exciting on multiple levels. I make them both promise to "stop-short" if there is an accident. Hoping for at least a quick brake check. No dice. F-Train is a talented driver. But can't find the MGM driveway on the first shot.
  • Fall into bed at 4 am with DrChako. Alcohol and sheer exhaustion trumps marital duties. Would consider it bad beat number three, but have a lifetime to recover from the variance.

Now if that isn't a full day, what is?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

* Editor's note. I did decline. But I could do a lot with a million. Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WPBT - Thursday

I need to preface this string of posts by saying this was an unusual year for me. It has always been about meeting as many people as possible, doing as many things as possible, and taking as many pictures as possible.

This year, it was about being with my friends. And this year, it made leaving Las Vegas harder than it ever has been before.

* * * * *

Unfortunately, Thursday was a work day . . . so it started off with a rush to the office for a brief meeting, before we could get on our way to the airport. I finished the meeting and jumped in the car to drive home and pick up the hubby on our way to SFO.

I knew it was going to be a good weekend . . . the radio was playing a little "Pour Some Sugar On Me . . . " and I immediately thought of Peaker (hair metal . . . not some weird sugar fetish . . . ) and smiled . . . Steel Panther rules! I was still smiling as I pulled in the driveway and picked up DrChako and we headed off . . . only to hear a little old school "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" . . . How could they know?

As we pulled off the airport exit, the radio played "Waking Up in Vegas" and I realized how excited I was to know that Friday, that's exactly what I'd be doing! We flew through security, got on standby with the same flight (which ended up being an hour or more delayed), but we were together, on our way to hang out with friends.

We checked into the Bellagio, and then I got my first reality check. I actually had several hours of work to do, and the good Dr. was going to head out to see where he could flush some money down the toilet. I gave the office 3 more good hours, before we decided to get some dinner and then find some friends.

On Thursday night, its always the IP, and this time, it didn't disappoint. The great thing is you never know who you're going to see first. For me it was CA April, and although she lives right down the road from me, its still good to see her in Vegas. Of course, she was only looking for my husband, who had promised her drinks for the weekend, and he filled her up with a cosmo, and I joined her for one (or three).

I turned my attention to the corner of the bar, where my favorite teddy bear, Falstaff, was holding court with Special K. Falstaff's hair was looking beautiful, and he greeted me with a traditional bear hug and kiss on the mouth. We were off to a great start (please note foreshadowing at this point . . . ).

I took some time to talk with Special K . . . he's this lean, lanky, love of a man . . . just a heart of gold and I love how much he loves his wife and his life. He did some time in Iraq like the Dr., and we talked about that for a while. It totally makes me want to do G-Vegas, just to soak in a little more of those sweet southern family men like him. It was a great start to an evening, to know I'd just added a little more personal time with a great guy.

Then they all started rolling in, with hugs and kisses from all. Pauly, Al, Maigrey, TX April, OhCaptain, Betty . . . you name it, they were there. Even Iggy. Is it just me, or does he get better looking each year? In that odd kind of "I think I'm a little fluttery - no, he's just a nice guy - but his hair is looking nice - now he just hugged me - but he's just a nice guy - I wonder if he'll let me pet his hair" kind of way. He must use special conditioners and face lotion, 'cause he just glowed.

I got in my greetings and some chats, and once again, found myself engaged in conversation with the unexpected - Katkin. Met him before, but this time, we spent more time chatting than I ever have, and I got to learn more. And I learned that I like!

But more surprises were waiting. At some point Peaker slipped in, and as if to taunt me, waited FAR to long to come over and say "hi" and give me a long overdue hug. He made it up a little later by spending a good amount of time chatting with me . . . but don't think I wasn't timing you, mister!

I think it was OhCaptain or someone else who loves me who took me over to the Let It Ride Table . . . where one of the great loves of my life (and the great love of his life) were there, having a grand old time! BamBam paused long enough to give me a monster hug that went on forever, punctuated only by a few kisses here and there. Gotta love a man who loves me this much, who loves my hubby this much, and who loves his wife even more. Besides, I was playing catch up from last year, since he was absent from the fun. I eventually made it to the end of the table to bestow the love upon Pebbles too, and got some extra smooches from CK and a girl sandwich to boot.

I stepped back from the table a bit to talk with Peaker and JJOK. Met JJOK for the first time and had a great time talking with him. Even if we did determine that his political leanings are much closer to my husbands . . . don't worry, I won't hold it against you. I still sleep with DrChako, even though I'm pretty sure he voted for one or more of the Bushes somewhere in the 90s or something.

Later I got to thinking about it - ladies, I was really taking a gamble. I mean, lets face it - I'm sitting there talking with two nice, handsome, articulate men . . . which normally wouldn't be a problem for me. In fact, its exactly where I like to find myself. Except these two are both fathers of multiples. Between the two of them, it took them only 4 attempts to produce 7 offspring. I started to worry about osmosis and stuff (*), standing so close to them, so I took it back to the Let It Ride table where the action was heating up.

Drizz had apparently hit quads. DrChako was screaming like a little girl (which had to be awful for Drizz's new audio equipment), and at first I thought he'd won, but he was just excited for the big man, who took the bulk of his Vegas winnings off that one table on that one hand. Now we were all captivated, and everyone gathered to watch. It was fun to watch the table light up with his good fortune.

It was while we stood there, that a silent force slipped in. I was oblivious, standing behind Peaker trying to see the table (I think he got taller), until I heard him say "Here comes your boyfriend". There might have been a little jealousy, or he might have just been practicing his DrChako imitation, which is definitely jealousy, but before I could figure out who he meant, I felt that lean body right up behind me, and I spun around - *sigh*.

Otis. And he was a vision. Clean-shaven, which made him look younger, and smiling, and wearing jeans and this hot, white button down shirt. Boys, nothing a girl likes better than a guy in a white button down shirt and jeans . . . I think I still have the picture of DrChako from college in just that outfit . . . well, except maybe his white button down shirt on you. He gave me a big hug, and a couple kisses. Those sweet ones that hit you right on the corner of the mouth . . . chaste enough to be publicly acceptable . . . close enough to make your heart flip. And other stuff. And it was cute, tipsy Otis . . . not Steel Panther Otis . . . so I was now officially in my blogger heaven. (**)

Or so I thought. Kat slipped in during the festivities and I got to hug one of my favorite girls, who I love even more (and miss even more) now that I'm home. I got a quick smooch before she headed up to the room to drop her stuff and freshen up.

We talked incessantly, hugged and kissed incessantly, drooled at Otis in the hot white shirt (ok, that might have just been me), and made our final rounds so that this old girl could prepare for a busy Friday. I didn't want to leave, but I had to have enough energy for my 6:45 am conference call, breakfast with girls, more conference calls, hot lunch date, more conference calls, Steel Panther, and pokering . . . I was going to need my rest. We said our goodbyes, with hugs and kisses, and Kat topped the night with an extended girl-kiss in the midst of the IP that made my night (and my husband's and Falstaff's, who we found staring in wonder).

* * * * *

It was a night of catching up, and settling in, rehashing old, and learning new. I found myself basking in the glow of being back amongst people who love you and accept you for who you are. People for whom the facade of the hard-driving, high-powered corporate executive is better left behind, and the girl in the jeans, who just wants a hug, and a kiss, and a little time to talk is welcome by all.

I couldn't imagine that Friday could be even better . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

* Editors post script #1 - subsequent confirmation of the effectiveness of traditional birth control methods against potential osmosis. Whew! Take that, super-sperm.

** Editors post script #2 - even after Steel Panther Otis reared his drunken head, I still have Otis on my list of blogger crushes. All I need to do is read the words, and I'm his. Well, in my alternate world. Where I don't have a husband and his wife wouldn't kick my ass.

Old School

It was going to be an easy day. Black sweater, gray skirt, new black pinstriped pumps with the ankle strap, and black pantyhose. Needed to get in quick and get these financials on file.

Until I turned and saw the giant snag in the black pantyhose.

There are things in life I organize, and things I don't. Like my panty drawer. No folding, no nothing . . . just wash them, throw them in, pull them out when you need them.

The pantyhose drawer is similar. But its scary. Legs intertwined, 27 shades of black or tan . . . and sometimes I'm too lazy to notice when there are holes, so many get put back when they should be put in the circular file.

So when I noticed the snag in the pair I was wearing, I went to the drawer to find a new black pair. But the first pair had a hole. So did the second. Third pair wasn't black - it was dark navy. Next pair were textured tights - didn't want tights - wanted pantyhose. Textured tights with holes. Black maternity pantyhose (maternity?).

I started to get frustrated, and then my email inbox pinged again. Which made me more frustrated. I needed to get to work and couldn't find a damn pair of black pantyhose.

And then a solution snaked out.

I'm going old school today, people. Stockings. You heard me. Stockings. Under the corporate exterior, we're going old school stockings.

I have a feeling someone is going to get their ass kicked today.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

The Way Back Machine

Tonight I was reminiscing with an old high school chum. Well, I thought chum. Apparently he had a big enough crush on me back then to have stayed in certain after school activities for two years just because I did them. Oh yeah, apparently I was that good. Valedictorians so totally rock. (Hey, some high school guys dig brainy, skinny, naive girls.)

Funny thing is I remember staying up late on school trips and talking into the wee hours of the night with him - he was a great friend. Apparently, on one of the trips, I sat on his lap for two hours talking. Nothing more, nothing less, but to the hormonally imbalanced teenage boy, that must have been torture. I simply remember it as that warm, fuzzy chat with a friend. But then again, I didn't have enough experience to know any different.

Maybe I wasn't good at reading signals. Back then, I was pretty naive . . . and he was two years older.

If I knew today what I knew then, would I have reacted differently? Would I have perceived it differently? Or even if I did, would it have mattered? Would it be cool to have a "Way Back Machine" to go back to that point in time, with all the knowledge and experience you have now, and relive it? Or guide your younger self?

We laughed about it, knowing it probably all falls into place the way it should. He's a cool guy, but so is my husband, without whom I would not have these two beautiful boys, who are cooler than either of us, combined.

I'm a pretty logical person. Really, I am. Forget all that kissing nonsense last week - I was really just building my immunity, people. That's logical.

But as I get older, especially recently, enough things happen at just the right moment, in just the right order, at just the right space in time to make me believe fate, or something like it, might have a bigger role in the way hands play out than this logical girl can account for. And I don't know that I want to fight that, given that I like how things have been turning out . . .

So if you build a "Way Back Machine", maybe don't let me know.

But for the record, he did tell me that if he had a "Do Over" in life, it would be me. I thought that was kind of sweet.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When Words Fail

I find that I have more words than I have time to put down, and not enough words to describe it all fully.

I took pictures, but not nearly as many as I have in the past, and in some ways it makes me sad. I don't have a tangible memory of everything and everyone. If I don't have pictures of you, forgive me. It doesn't mean I don't love you. You're still there. In my mind. On the positive side of things, it probably means I was living the moments, instead of photographing them.

I'll post the few I have later, because its late and I have a buttload of catch up work to do. But there is one picture I have that sums up the fun, the stupidity, and the general togetherness that is bloggerdom.

Thanks to all who joined me in this small space. For all those who couldn't be here, we missed you. I wish I could have packed everyone of you in here for keeps! To Oh Captain, thanks for tolerating the back of my head in your crotch - it clearly made the picture better.

Let a mirrored ceiling in the bathroom at Lagasse's Stadium show you what a representative sample of good friends looks like in a small space.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Final Curtain

It was before the GMAT. The Masters. The CPA exam. Back in the day when I still had large chunks of time to dedicate to passion and whimsy.

Theater was my outlet. Structured creativity. Other people's words, other people's sets, other people's concepts and directions. But my passion and my imagination, clothed in the temporary shell of one of the characters on stage.

Days spent in classes and studying; nights in the company of my fellow actors and actresses. Living and breathing the lines, our real personas and our faux personas mixing and blending, even on the weekends after practice was over, while we sat around someone's apartment on borrowed furniture in black thrift store clothes listening to the new REM, or an old vinyl. Maybe Outlandos d'Amour by the Police. Or the Violent Femmes.

You became inseparable as cast and crew. As close as any family, aware of every heartache and heartbreak, every frustration and every hope. As the rehearsals progressed, you felt the collective buzz, the collective heartbeat, pulsing as the story came to life. The rush of opening night, the response of the audience, the energy as you ran backstage for a costume change, winding among your fellow thespians and stage hands moving furniture and carrying spare color gels.

Waking the next day and the next day, ready to give your character life again that night as the audience suspended their disbelief once more, listening for the ovation as the curtain closed.

Until the final curtain. The theater still vibrated from the fading echoes of the applause, and the laughter of cast and crew as they put things away for the last time. There were hugs and tears and kisses and laughter at the final cast party as you celebrated a job well done, laughed at your transgressions and improvisations, complimented your castmates on their raw emotions and flawless characterizations.

Until the final curtain.

When the next morning dawns, without a purpose or a plan, and the theater is empty and the janitor sweeps the stage and the posters come down and the costume closet is locked. And your emotions are a little shredded and you find yourself laughing at inappropriate times, and crying at others, and walking around in the silence feeling a little empty. Wondering if it was real. Knowing that you'll never be able to explain it to anyone who wasn't there, or wasn't a part of it. Feeling lost without your cast of characters around you.

The letdown.

It eventually passes. Slowly, surely, things fill the void. You talk with people and relive the scenes, and pull out the pictures and tell the stories.

But right then, when its over, it was just the letdown, the ache reminding you that you were part of something bigger.

But when you see that flyer . . . advertising the next auditions . . . your heart races . . . and you cross your fingers . . . and hope that you'll be a part of the next show.

* * * * *

Which reminds me . . . letdown or no letdown . . . I heart the WPBT.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, December 14, 2009

Serendipity II

As if I hadn't had enough of that stuff this weekend, apparently it is still lingering.

* * * * *

I turned on my computer last night when I got home, after unpacking, trying to decompress. My schedule was completely blocked, except for this 15 minutes that I'd done a self-block on, just to keep my sanity.

At the top of the day's list was the following:

7:00 Performance review - call your boss.

Seriously, people? 7:00 a.m.? How many of you have ever seen Mrs Chako out of bed before 7:00 a.m.? And seeing me at 4:00 a.m. because I hadn't made it to bed after the Steel Panther/GVR poker session doesn't count.

I started laundry, put away the clean things I didn't wear, and watched the clock, feeling utterly exhausted but not being sleepy.

My email finally booted up, with two surprises - conference call moved to 7:15 a.m. (in my world, that's a whole 'nother cycle of REM, which I love), and performance comments delivered in advance.

The advanced intelligence was good. No bad surprises, plenty of good surprises.

Then today I got on the call. The advanced intelligence was the stripped down version, and the in person version was even better. I think the most flattering comment I got was that my boss had done a lot of interviewing, saw a lot of intelligent people with the technical capabilities, but he said "you had all that, but somehow, I just thought you'd be a good fit for this group, and every day, I'm even more convinced that's true."

I love compliments. I sometimes have a hard time taking them, but they make me glow . . . well, forever. If you've ever said anything complimentary to me, its filed somewhere in this noggin. Sometimes verbatim. Often, with videographic reproductive capabilities. And to be honest, I have a huge amount of pride in my work, so a compliment is really one of my best motivators.

I finished the rest of the discussion, still smiling.

* * * * *

So what does this have to do with serendipity?

Well, 9 months ago, I had the opportunity to interview for this job for the first time. Less than a month later, it was more than an "interesting opportunity" - it was almost necessity. You see, a little over 8 months ago, I was told I was being let go of my then-current job. 15 years . . . and that's all she wrote.

Six months ago, I accepted the offer for the job I have today. Today, not only did I walk away from the conversation with a glow, but with a purpose, with confidence about my influence and my impact, and, even given the economy for the past year, with the promise of a bonus in two weeks that will effectively result in effectively making 50% (*) more for something that gives me more job satisfaction, puts me in more control, makes me a bigger fish in a bigger pond, for a more recognizable company, with a better title.

If you hadn't stopped feeling sorry for me losing my job prior to this, you'll need to stop now. I insist. Really, I'm ok. I think, save for a few life experiences, this weekend included, getting fired was one of the most serendipitous events ever.

* * * * *

So who's coming to the Chako house for a party to spend some of this loot in the new year?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

* Editor's note . . . in my post-bonus euphoric state, I'm apparently not as good at math as I normally am- forgot to annualize the bonus . . . its more.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


It happens to be the name of one of my favorite romantic movies, with one of my favorite romantic actors, John Cusack. One I'll watch again and again, just to make sure the guy still gets the girl . . . even if I did learn (vicariously, thanks to a girlfriend) this weekend that he's not the best kisser. The kiss tells everything . . . he may have to be removed from "the List".

* * * * *


A British translation company in 2004 named it one of the 10 hardest words in the English language to translate. Try "an instance of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for" . . . or maybe "good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries."

The French have a phrase for it - heureux hasard - which translates as "fortunate chance".

It was the last sign I noticed, on the side of a new restaurant, as the taxi pulled away from the Bellagio, on our way to the final stop of the day before returning to reality. It made me smile.

* * * * *

It was everywhere this weekend. It was hours with a good girlfriend on Friday night over girly-drinks with sugared rims and sourdough fondue that you hadn't planned. It was stealing the last warm rays of sunshine, on a weekend that had been filled with cold and gray, on the patio at the Palazzo with another gal pal as the sun set behind TI and you hashed out life's regrets and wish lists.

It was opportunities that presented themselves from the crumbled remains of your previous plan. Like experiencing something for the first time with a good friend, and finding out he's really good at it . . . but has the patience to sit with you for hours to help you be better too.

Fortunate chance.

* * * * *
I've accumulated a whole host of dear friends, and unrivaled life experiences, by virtue of fortunate chance. Many of whom I just spent four fantastic days with that I wouldn't trade for anything. There's more to come, but right now, I just need to close my eyes and revel in the last lingering moments of this round of serendipity.
* * * * *
May you all enjoy the next "fortunate chance" that finds it way to you . . . I'm keeping my eyes open for mine.
Respectfully submitted,
The Wife

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Inspirational Messaging . . .

Gosh, I read over my last few posts . . . did I get hit with the sentimental, sappy bug or what? It sounds like I'm in the hunt for this year's "Goodness and Light" awards or something . . . maybe its just that time of the month.

So I thought I'd give you a refreshing change of pace - kind of like switching shampoos, to perk up your hair.

Who's ready to:
  • Drink until you have a tendency to say (or do) inappropriate things?
  • Throw money around a table with friends without regard to probability, necessarily?
  • Hug anyone and anything you might have some passing familiarity with?
  • Kiss your friends, regardless of race, creed, nationality, gender, or poker-playing ability?
  • Listen to loud music played by grown up men wearing spandex?
  • Watch football with your 50+ closest virtual and actual friends?
  • Eat, drink and be merry?
  • Take photographic evidence?
  • Do things that you might not want your children or your parents to know about, but that will give your pals story material for years to come?
  • See me in purple?

I'm just asking. Not saying I do or don't. But I've assembled a purple wardrobe, am trying to keep my girlish figure, and have a manicure/pedicure planned for next Wednesday . . .

Eight more days!

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wants and Needs

Although it’s certainly more tradition than mandate, we give our children a gift each night during Hanukah. I’m a good Jewish mom, so some of the gifts are pretty practical, like a shirt or a book or other things that don’t cost an arm and a leg and aren’t found in the latest Toys ‘R Us catalog.

But each kid usually has a night or two of really awesome things they want.
Several years ago, I started a family tradition to remind them that everyone is not so lucky. We choose one night of the eight-day season where the children don’t receive a gift. Instead, we choose other children to receive something they want or need. Usually it’s at a local mall or something, where we select children from a “giving tree” that are close to the boys’ ages, and go buy them the requested gift.

This year, there is a giving tree in our company cafeteria. Out of curiosity, I checked out the requests, thinking I would bring the boys by to select someone. There were a few that didn’t surprise me. Cheri wanted the Hannah Montana video game. Jose wanted a remote control racecar.

Then I saw Joanna’s request. She’s 10 – she just wanted a jacket.

I started to tear up. Remembering why we have this tradition. What kid wants a jacket for the holidays?

A kid for whom something as simple as a jacket – as simple as warmth – is not a given.

May my children someday realize they are lucky enough that a jacket does not need to be high on their list of “needs”, much less “wants” . . . and may we all remember as the holidays approach that there is more than one Joanna out there who “wants” what the rest of us consider a basic necessity.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving ponderings

Turkey in the oven,
Healthy family,
A lot of food in my house,
Nice home, filled with warmth and sufficient comforts,
Kindred spirits in my many friends,
Safety and security,
Good jobs, in a troubling economy,
Vitality and youth, in my body and spirit,
Inspiration, in the experiences I've had,
No financial burdens we can't handle,
Good fortune and good luck.

What are you thankful for?

On a holiday based around the simple theme of being grateful, I wish my husband, my children, my family, my dear friends, and all of my fellow creatures on this speck in the universe the blessings and good fortune you have earned.

All my love,

The Wife

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I have it.

Today, I was home for lunch, and we were all sitting around the table. I was opening mail and I opened a report from Son #1's school.

It was the results of some standardized writing assessment they had done, prior to the start of the school year. Weird kind of test that I've never seen before, completely subjective. Not the #2 pencil fill in the bubble kind you and I used to take when we were kids.

There is something a little wrong when you don't understand the scoring, to begin with. I have two degrees, one of them a Master's. When I finally figured it out, it wasn't good. In fact, he'd scored incredibly low, relative to his peers. In percentiles and normal distributions, we're talking "short-bus" range.

Now this is a kid who is articulate and verbal and witty and smart. His grades aren't what mine were at his age, but a solid range of As, Bs and Cs, nothing lower. Sure, he's got the attention span of a fruit fly with ADD sometimes, and he's frequently reprimanded in school for talking too much (wonder where that comes from . . . ), but never anything of this proportion.

Without hesitation, or pause, I went off. Chastised him at the table. Told him this wasn't what I expected. Started railing on how this wasn't acceptable.

I saw his shoulders drop a little, but he kept eating. The curtain of hair flopped further over his eyes, and he said nothing. Then I saw a tear trickle down one cheek.

I felt awful, and went over and apologized. Gave him a hug. Told him I only wanted the best for him, and that meant doing well in school. He nodded, swallowing hard on the bite of sandwich he had, and didn't speak. Finished his sandwich and went upstairs. I talked to him later in his room, too, and he let out his frustration a little more, but still, not much.

And then I got the guilt, again, as I drove home from grocery shopping. Do we expect to much of our kids? Do we put too much weight in standardized tests and grades? But if I don't do it, who will? How do I teach him that this is his introduction to life, where the tests aren't even standardized, and pass or fail means you have a job or you don't?

I'd love him to excel academically, like I did, but does he have to? Should I hold him to that standard, or something else? Is that standard still relevant anymore?

No one told me there'd be guilt.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just rewards

At work, and in life, I'm the girl who puts her head down and gets it done, trusting that eventually the right people will notice. Do your best job, whatever you do, and good things will follow. Oh, I know, sometimes on this blog, I blabber on about the general hawesomeness of being the VP, etc. But its really to keep my hubby's ego in check. I practice a good deal of humility day-to-day. Really. (Well, not about my shoes . . . but everyone has to have a flaw, right?)

When I found out I was being laid off, earlier this year, I faltered, for a moment. But then I took the same approach I did in any job. Turned "job-searching" into my focus, and tried to do the best I could do. And think I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. I put the downside behind me, and tried to go about the process with grace and style. It did not go unnoticed.

So now, six months into the job, I'm trying to do my best, and its starting to get some notice. Today, one of the external audit partners (from my previous firm) was talking to me. She said "You're doing a really nice job so far . . . the coordinating partner and I were just talking about it the other day . . . and this is going to sound weird . . . but after we got done saying what a nice job you're doing . . . . we said "We (the previous firm) made a mistake" . . . "

I laughed. I'm glad someone finally noticed.

But its neither here nor there, at this point. In fact, as I sit working through my bonus allocations for my team, trying to make sure the money is distributed fairly, I realize I'm authorizing some bonuses that are bigger than some people make as a salary all year. And I am enjoying my job. And enjoying my new team. And I don't even know if I'll get a bonus this year, but it doesn't matter, because I'm working for a place where we're paying bonuses in one of the worst economies in forever. Imagine what happens when the economy is actually good?

Maybe I didn't position myself correctly in my previous firm. Or maybe, given the way its all working out, I did.

Just rewards. For mine, I am grateful.

Although, for a small second, when she said "We made a mistake", the bad girl wanted to say "Yeah you did - in your face!" But then I promised to take the bad girl shoe-shopping if she just kept her mouth shut, and we were good.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, November 23, 2009

Purple Humiliation, In Style

I believe I started the challenge, back several years ago when I was certain the Packers could kick Viking ass naked on the frozen tundra, one hand tied behind their back, and after 40 days without beer and brats. So its only fair, after a few years of Drizz having to wear the green and gold, that I have to bear my own purple humiliation. The fact that it comes at the hands of the traitor who shall not be named right now (but who will likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame someday) is a little brutal. But I'm a woman of my word.
And I've decided to grin and bear it in as much style as I can muster.
  • Purple (suppress gag reflex) Favre jersey . . . Drizz assures me its on its way.
  • Purple earrings - check.
  • Purple lace trimmed tank - check.
  • Purple . . . uh . . . "unmentionables" (that I just mentioned, so maybe it's a misnomer) . . . check.
  • And for the final item ass-kicking purple accessory, courtesy of Ken P's $9.95 (plus and extra $.54 of my own money, after scrounging all of the clearance sales I could) . . . My feet will also be adorned in the excessively purple wonderfulness of "Simply Vera" by Vera Wang.

Viking drag queens everywhere - ENVY ME!!!!
Hope you all have your cameras ready . . . 17 more days!
Respectfully, and violetly (not violently) submitted,
The Wife

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Letter to a Friend

Dear Bella,

Hey, I know its been a while, and you've been all busy with that movie and your guys and all. I finally gave in and went to see it - even though all my friends said it was lame. But you're my friend. And besides, now that you're all famous, we don't get to talk so much, so I figured I'd see it and catch up with your life.

Girl, as your friend, I'm gonna be honest. You're a little messed up.

First of all, Edward is starting to confuse me. I've never seen a man so brooding, who never says anything. The way he left you? Girl, you should have totally dumped him and said "good riddance". Not sat around in your room sulking for months. I mean, seriously, he couldn't even come up with something lame like "its not you, its me" - he just took off. This is not good.

I know you have a thing for bad guys. Maybe since you're not having sex with the guy, it gets you all hot that simply going to his house is totally dangerous and stuff. I get the whole bad guy (well, bad family) thing. And I get that he's hot in kind of a mysterious creepy way that makes it seem like he's going to eat you every time he kisses you. I know, I know, I told you last time how hot that was . . . but now its just getting to be kind of weird.

I know he's all sparkly, but seriously, Bel . . . he could use a tan. And he really doesn't talk alot - how can you really know a guy who doesn't talk alot? So its not the sex, and its not the conversation - you can't get hung up on that whole immortality bit, can you?

The thing that really made me think you're losing it, though, girlfriend, is the whole Jacob thing. I mean, he's been hanging around you like a little puppy for years. And you don't pay him any attention until Edward leaves, and now suddenly its "Jacob, fix my bike" "Jacob, go to the movies with me" "Jacob, hang out with me" . . . you're giving him mixed signals and its just mean. Like why do you stand in his space like that, knowing you won't kiss him or anything? That's just cruel. He's sixteen. You know he's getting a little woody every time you just glance at him - standing in the zone is just being torturous. You know I wouldn't pooh-pooh a little flirtation now and then, but sheesh, Bella - you're just toying with him.

And really, that whole "I love you - but if you make me choose, its him" thing was just wrong. I know YOU know you love him in that "friend" way, but I've been around the block enough to know that guys can't love you in that "friend" way - so when he hears "love" he's hearing the "love-love" kind. So that was just like a big kick in the balls, right in front of Edward and everything. Kind of playing dirty Bella. Just sayin'.

Not that I'm saying you should go for Jacob. I mean, he's lookin' pretty buff these days - did you see his abs? I mean REALLY see them? Yeah, I know I sound like a cougar, but seriously. He's not the same little kid he was last time I saw him. But seriously Bel - he's A WEREWOLF!!! He could rip you apart!

I mean, why can't you just like the football captain, or the moody guitarist in your calculus class? Or Mike. Go for Mike. I know he's simple - but he's a nice kid. Why do you have to go for the guys who are secretly monsters? Not in the figurative sense - literally, these guys are monsters. They make horror movies about them. HELLO!!!!!

I'm telling you, guys who make you run off to Rome to find them, put you in danger with some ancient group of vampires, and who's family wants to eat you every time you get a paper cut are probably not a good long-term thing. I know he asked you to marry him, and maybe that seemed all romantic and stuff, but Bel - you're 18. You have a whole life ahead of you. He's 108 or something. I mean, I know he looks good for 108 and everything, but you come from different generations. Think about that. My mom and dad are only 14 years apart and even they have their differences.

You're a big girl. I can't force you to do anything. But as your friend, I'm just saying, you gotta stop jerking around poor Jacob. And the whole moody thing (you, and Edward) is starting to wear on people . . . I just don't want you to lose friends.

I still love you Bel . . . but I don't know if I can keep watching you do this to yourself.

Especially at $10.00 per show (popcorn excluded).

Love, your pal,

Mrs. Chako

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Accidental Companion

I'd intended to write this earlier, but time slips away. Then F-Train posted his airplane talker story, inspired from CK's tweet about airplane talkers, and I thought I'd totally get off my butt and steal the theme.

I'm used to airplane talkers. My mother is an airplane talker. I lived with my mother for over 18 years. I can live through nearly anything. Same way I deal with my kids droning on and on. Smile, nod your head, don't make direct eye contact.

This time, I inadvertently broke the third rule before I even got on the plane. He happened to be ahead of me in the security line - a head taller than the people around him, he caught my eye when the line snaked around the corner. He's one of those guys that looks directly at you, unashamed, with no concern for how you'll perceive him. In other circumstances, I would probably have thought he was attractive. But I was in my own head, and I looked away. Not in the mood to engage; saving my energy for my extended family.

I got on the plane, only to find a woman in my seat. It was one of the jets with the 2-3-2 configuration, and I had a window seat. She was in my seat - asked if I minded sitting in her seat - the aisle ahead. I didn't care. Seating really wasn't a high priority. I had other priorities. Like getting my one small carryon stowed.

The overheads were all different - and people had thrown things in willy-nilly. So I stood there, trying to rearrange everything like a big puzzle. That's when I found him behind me. Waiting. For the seat right next to me.

He was a big man. 6'4, probably 200 pounds. Lean though, dressed casually. He spoke when he sat down, a slight accent. Which explained why he seemed pained at my attempts to fit my luggage. I could hear him thinking "stupid American."

I sat down, pulling out my Blackberry. Sent a message to the nanny and kids. Message to the husband. A message to relatives. Confirming flight details. It was going to be a tight timetable and hard to coordinate around the wake.

The pilot came on . . . mechanical problem . . . indeterminate delay. I pulled out the phone, sending information off to relatives, trying to reconfigure the pick up and drop off plans. He was watching me the whole time. An odd look on his face which didn't make him look more attractive.

He commented about Americans' addiction to electronics - our cell phones, computer, etc. - that we couldn't wait to pull them out as soon as the pilot announced the delay. I thought about just ignoring him, but I started to lose it. Tried explaining that while he could interpret things however he wanted, it happened to be the only link I had at the moment as I was trying to help my family coordinate relatives from all over the country flying into Chicago for a funeral, while leaving my kids in the Bay Area with my nanny, getting ready for the new nanny coming in 3 days, and a husband still in Seattle. I started to get teary. And that must have softened his Euro disdain.

He started to talk, and I tried to calm down and recompose myself. He talked of life and death and philosophies. Got me talking about family. Talked about values and ethics and what we learn from others and teach to our own.

He was a Spaniard; independently wealthy through the accident of birth. His compensation for being orphaned at 5 was a legacy of property around Europe, which provided him enough income to travel, study, see the world, all with only few stops here and there to tend to his holdings. He held two degrees, spoke 5 languages fluently, lived in Cataluna near the French border, lisped his "s" sounds so that it sounded like he said "Franthistco". Spoke of his parents growing up under Franco, of European politics and policies that were only vague memories of some long-forgotten World Civ class in college.

Each conversation led from one philosophical journey to the next, at dizzying speed. I'm a smart girl, but my brain started to hurt. Religion, philosophers, philosophies, authors, musicians, dictators, governments, political parties . . . you name it, he covered it. Had me writing in a notebook at each suggestion, until I was exhausted.

At one point, as I rolled my shoulders, trying to shrug off an impending migraine caused by stress and grief, he mentioned he did yoga, and how much it helped his back pain. He reached up to touch my neck and back, pinpointing sore muscles and explaining how the yoga moves would relax and stretch the muscles, tracing the lines to demonstrate the movements. After 4 hours of talking, it didn't seem strange at all that this stranger was demonstrating yoga movements in the close confines of a plane, seated beside me practicing breathing exercises with me, touching my neck or my spine to demonstrate the perfect alignment.

I never got the impression he was hitting on me, though at one point he mentioned a past girlfriend . . . and her husband. Don't know if that was for my benefit or not, given our previous discussions about my children, husband and marital bliss. As if to say "well, if you are interested in extramarital affairs, I have had experience". But I didn't pick up that thread of conversation, and he was content to jump back into philosophy and death and materialism and socialism and a variety of other isms.

Six hours. 4 1/2 hours of flight, combined with more than an hour on the ground. 30 hours of liberal arts classes crammed into one eclectic conversation; the overriding Eurocentric arrogance and body odor excused only by the inadvertent relaxation benefits of the stretching, breathing, and accidental massage.

Grief and sorrow and death in the background for a short part of the day; and a strange tale to tell, as well.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woe Is Me . . .

I just spent the first 30 minutes of my birthday trying to make sure the tax department wasn't going to lead us off a cliff in tomorrow's meeting . . . and chastising the treasury department for not letting me know that small changes % wise still equal big numbers when we are talking about invested assets . . .

Tell me its going to get better than this . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The (older and wiser) Wife

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Think They Write This Stuff Just For Me . . .

I'm either emotionally perfect, or emotionally easy. Not sure which. But I'll be the first to admit - I am a SUCKER for the romantic.

Always have been. Probably came from years of watching Disney princess movies and Days of Our Lives with Grandpa. Waiting on the farm for some prince to ride in on his white horse and sweep me off my feet. Took me quite a while to realize that in my small town, best I could expect was some guy LISTENING to Prince to ride in on his white USED MUSTANG (if he didn't need my Dad to pull him out of the ditch, first) and sweep the floor with his knuckles. If I wanted romance, I needed to get out of town and go make some myself.

Which is why I love a good romantic movie. Its a perfect escape. When I'm down here by myself, and the kids go to bed, I torture myself with romantic movies. Even when I know the setup, I still wait for it, watching the tension build, waiting for those little missed signals and crossed wires to finally all come together in that epic kiss.

Last night it was a rerun of Pretty Woman. You know, she doesn't kiss on the mouth, but then gives it up for Richard Gere. Yeah, I got sucked into the faux intimacy. AGAIN. Tonight, it was Made of Honor. The scene in the bar during her "bachelorette" party where she's selling kisses to the locals for money. (It's apparently a tradition - wish I'd known that - I could have PAID for my wedding) Patrick Dempsey (*sigh*), her best friend, is one of the last ones, and he says "this is all I have" and drops a few coins in her pot, and then gives her the kiss of a lifetime. And you can watch her face battling her instinct and her social expectations, but she gives in anyway, losing herself in the kiss. I was breathless, and I was just sitting here on the couch!

Give me a movie who can do that first kiss scene right - the ones that make you hold your breath, counting the seconds until their lips meet, feeling the air being pushed out of the space between them, wishing you could be there at the exact moment when your heart stops racing and pauses indefinitely and the bottom drops out of your stomach and . . .

. . . and then you realize its just a movie, and its you and a box of kleenexes and the couch pillow you've twisted up and have started biting and when its over you're going to be sleeping in the bed by yourself with the pillows around you and you're going to work in the morning where you likely won't kiss anyone at all . . . and certainly not Patrick Dempsey. *sigh*

When the movie finished, they advertised the upcoming John Cusack marathon in two weeks . . . when Dr Chako is in Chicago for a conference and I'm home alone again, watching romantic movies. I'm toast.

Dreaming of first kisses . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, November 15, 2009

24 Days . . .

Somedays it seems like too long. Somedays, I realize how fast it will be here. And how glad I am that its on its way.

Four days of silliness, complete with hordes of people that 5 years ago I wouldn't have even guessed that I'd know, much less make the second weekend of December sacred. Especially given that it always falls in rodeo week in Las Vegas.

But as much as I love my new job, its time for a small break. And while we're making the best of this weird living apart situation, its not so much fun, and it will be nice to be together with friends. And life, in general has its structure - it will be good to have a long weekend that is specifically structured to be . . . well, as unstructured, or structured, as you wish it to be.

It's not the poker. It will be fun, and (excepting the tourney) I usually make money while I'm down there, but we've got a casino here, games with friends, and Bayne's got me hooked up with a local tourney.

It's not the food. I live in the Bay Area, with as much food variety and great restaurants as you can imagine, if your wallet can take it.

It's not the spas or the hotels . . . California is full of great spas and getaways.

It's the motley crew of people I can't wait to see. I think we're bringing most of our California crew down, including April and Bayne and Betty, if we talk nice to her. But even though I can see these guys whenever I want, its still fun to hang with them in Vegas.

The Canadians are coming. Bunches of them. But high on my list of priority hugs include Kat (hugs and smooches . . . no pictures allowed) and Bam Bam and Pebs. In fact, I need Bam Bam so bad the other day I emailed him, and we traded a few emails . . . but its a poor substitute for a real, honest to goodness, gut wrenching hug. I'm thinking arms and legs wrapped around this guy, if he can bear my weight. Kisses too. Only if Pebs approves, of course. Although it's Vegas - try and stop me, girlfriend.

I'm hoping to trade hugs (massages, hair drapes, etc.) with CK, lay some hand on Bad Blood's guns, give Otis three hugs - one for his recent loss, one for his gain (Dos) and one just because he's my original blogger crush. Maybe an extra, just to mark him for the other girls who try to move in on my hug action.

I need a big bear hug from Falstaff, and maybe a kiss or two (Suzy, too, if she's around). But I know if I kiss Falstaff, then Dr. Chako will be all jealous - and have to kiss Falstaff too. Can't wait to see the reigning Queen, the Princess herself, and Gracie and Pablo and Stb and F-Train. Waffles. Oh Captain, even without his better half. And what's Vegas without Al? Or Texas April, who's being a dear and organizing this mess.

Don't worry boys, I'm getting to you. Yeah, you know who you are.

Poker Peaker. It's like that scene in the Lion King where the one hyena says "Mufasa!" and the other one shivers and says breathlessly "Say it again . . . " and the first one says "Mufasa!" sending the other one into fits of shivers. Yeah, pretty much like that. Besides, I lost my Steel Panther virginity with him . . . (ok, maybe there were other people there too). Vegas isn't Vegas now without him. I'm telling you Otis, he's totally gaining ground.

And Drizz. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Well, not for the purple humiliation you'll make me live through, but after a few years, I guess fair is fair. I want you to know I'm going all the way for this. Really. If I'm going to do purple, I'm going to do it right. But I expect you to make it worth my while. I think a sufficient number of hugs and other affections will prime me appropriately for our little Sunday rendezvous.

I know this is only a smattering of people I will see and love while I'm there.

So Bellagio, here I come. Geisha bar, see you Thursday night. Friday night, I expect some mixed games, and then me and my best hair-metal band loving friends are going to pounce on the Steel Panther show in all of its Spandex glory. Saturday, I'll drag my butt out of bed and work hard to try to take a place at the final table, and whether I win or lose, I'll spend Saturday evening in silliness with whichever of you have the stamina to hang with me. I can't promise how early I can drag my tush out of bed on Sunday, but I'll be in the sports bar to pay up. My husband might be off riding bikes with Kat, but I'm sure one or more of you will entertain me.

24 days, my friends . . . 24 days.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife