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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mama Drama

The other day my youngest had my phone. Because he's three and knows how to operate it better than I do. It was a typical day. I was just trying to get stuff done and he was begging me to take him to the park. I kept saying, in a few minutes, as soon as I finish this up. So of course I give him my phone to buy me more time. The next thing I know, he's on the damn phone asking Suri to take him to the park. Ouch. That hurt. Okay, we can go to the park now. Although it would be really awesome if Suri could take him. But this isn't an episode of the Jetson's. This is my life. And I don't have a smart-talkin' robot maid.

When I was pregnant with my first, I remember reading somewhere that as a mom you need to put yourself first. It's a hard concept to comprehend when expecting a new baby, but after the baby was born, I began to understand. If you don't take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of your kids? It does make sense. It's exactly what the flight attendants instruct you to do on an airplane if the oxygen masks are needed (thankfully this has never happened to me, more on my fear of flying later) but they always tell you to put the mask on yourself first then help your kids. Say what? Seems a little selfish. I always picture George Castanza knocking over kids and old ladies trying to escape a fire. But when you think about it, it makes total sense. If you can't breathe, how are you supposed to help your kids breathe? Now if you're one of Kate Gosselin's kids, your chances of survival are about one in eight. We'd find out really fast who her faves really are. Now that would be a reality show.

See?
Since having kids, I have worked full-time, part-time, and no-time, and I still don't know which is best. I do like working. Especially with four kids. I need to do something for myself where I actually use my brain and interact with other adults. And I like putting my education to good use. But when I am working I think about everything that needs to be taken care of at home. And when I'm at home, especially now being laid off, I feel amazing guilt for not contributing to our income. I have come to realize it's impossible to have it all. I really can't have my cake and eat it too.  After all, I'm a woman, not a man.

When my oldest started school, I missed everything. I could never go to any school events. I felt bad. Until the time came when I was able to participate. It was Halloween and I just started working part-time and was going to be off on the day of the big Halloween parade. Yay! Finally! I would be the mom at the school function. Swapping recipes with the other moms. Cause that's what happens there, right? My son was so excited I would be there, or so I told myself. So I get there, get out of the car and watch him walk by in costume. I waved. He waved. That was it. That was what I had been missing? That was what I had been feeling guilty about? I felt robbed. He barely even noticed me. He was happy to see me, but what if I wasn't there? He would have been fine. I had built this all up in my head that I was cheating him by working and missing his activities. When I was offered to go back full-time, I took it. And I didn't feel bad about it.

It was then that I began to realize it just doesn't matter. They have a nice life surrounded by amazing people. They have two involved parents. One of us is normally here when they wake up and to kiss them goodnight. They are loved probably more than they will ever know. If the kids ever ask why we have to go to work, we say to make the money to buy the toys. That's all they want to hear. And then they actually push us right out the door.

Now that I am home all day, everyday, the only one I feel bad for is me. I interact with women on the buy/sell pages of Facebook more than my own family. It was a long winter. But things are beginning to perk up along with the temperatures. And soon the kids will be off for the summer and I won't have to even think about missing stuff at school. Or making their dreaded lunches. Because when it really comes down to it, the worst part of being a mom is having to make the lunches. No one tells you that. It's not in the books about what to expect. But I swear to you it's the worst. I long for summer to begin so every meal can be a judgment-free pop tart. And I won't feel one bit bad about it. Because I'm going to put myself first, like the flight attendant instructed me.

 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Misery Loves Company

When you are orphaned in your twenties, there are not a lot of people who understand what you are going through. The only other people who may be able to comprehend it are your siblings. I don't think I'd be as close to my brothers, Juan and Dat, if we didn't experience the death of our parents the way we did. It made us who we are today. To some degree it defines us. We had to stick together like Willis and Arnold Jackson, except we didn't have a wealthy Phillip Drummond to adopt us. Even though I had my brothers, what I really longed for was an orphan friend. Then, one day, my wish came true.
Juan, Dat, and I, in happier times.

I had an acquaintance by the name of Flora. Her mom died when she was really young and I heard her dad was now sick. We shared a very similar story. I ran into her one night at a local bar. She told me that she was getting married soon, so her Dad could walk her down the aisle. Just like I did the year before. We chatted for a bit about how much life can really suck. But all the while I was trying to contain my excitement. I was going to have an orphan friend! This was going to be awesome. So I just sat back and waited patiently.

Soon, the inevitable happened. Flora was now an orphan just like me. We had a special bond. Finally, someone who knew what it was like! My first friendship based solely on death. My first, of many friendships, based solely on death. A few years later, another acquaintance was suddenly orphaned. And being the good orphans that we were, Flora and I welcomed Fawn into our triangle of orphans, with open arms. Together we help each other get through each parentless day. Their friendship has been a true blessing.

One particular Mother's Day, I found a bottle of Death's Door vodka on my front porch. The note said, "Love, Mom". It was so awesome to laugh instead of cry. Another time, after a particularly hard day, I was welcomed home with a liquor store gift certificate simply signed, "Orphan Triangle". And yet another time, there was a bottle of wine in a monogrammed thermal wine bag. Notice the theme?

During the same time period, I also had other friends who were experiencing the loss of a parent for the first time. So a few of us got together and started a group we named DPS, or Dead Parents Society. The only qualifications needed to join was to have one dead parent. As per usual, I was over-qualified. Our first meeting, in Flo's man garage, was a smashing success. It was a great place to get together and drink, laugh, and cry. Not necessarily in that order. That was a few years ago and we continue to hold meetings about once a month. To say these gals mean the world to me is an understatement. Since we started our group, four more members have been orphaned. It's really sad to watch your friends go through this experience, especially when you know exactly what hell it is.

But just like Dolly Parton's character in Steel Magnolias, laughter through tears is our favorite emotion. We laugh. A lot. Not about things normal people laugh about. Not about anything particularly funny. Mostly about extremely morbid things. Things only people who have lost parents would laugh about. We have seen a psychic and an medium together and we have had a meeting where we came dressed as our dead parent. We got a lot of looks that night.

Here are the DPSers dressed as our beloved.

Our meetings do revolve around drinking. Or sharing meds that our terminally ill parents left behind. We've all dealt with hospice so we know the drill by now. It's all about numbing the pain and being there for one another. We count ourselves lucky to have one another. We also count ourselves lucky because Carah was trained to give B12 shots when her mom was sick. So one night, we were all the beneficiaries of one of those bad boys. Still have the bruise to prove it. Anything to not feel the actual pain that we have inside of us. We all have lives that have to go on. We all have husbands, we all have kids, we all have jobs. But one night each month, we get to feel sorry for ourselves and drown those sorrows. And it feels good.  I know what you're all thinking, "but now I want to be an orphan!" Don't worry, you will be. Soon enough. Just make sure you surround yourself with the best damn orphan friends you can possibly find.

I have had friends say that they know someone who is also an orphan, or even half an orphan, but they don't think it's funny like I do. Let me just say, I don't think being an orphan is funny at all. I wish my parents were alive. But these are the cards I was dealt and I can't do a damn thing about it. If I didn't laugh about death, I would never laugh.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Drinks+Pool=Baby

One day Beau and I woke up and it was hot out. It was June. In Chicago. We did not have kids nor did we even know if we ever wanted to. We were LIVIN'. So we went out to our barren backyard and had a convo that went something like this. Wow, it's hot out today...Yeah it is... We should go buy a pool... Yeah we should. And that's exactly what we did. Just got in the car and went to the closest pool store and bought a freaking pool. With cash. Because we were hot. We don't have convos like that anymore. God do I miss those days.

Memorial Day is one of my favorite weekends of the year. We like to remember the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice, many from right here in our own neighborhood. And it's normally the weekend we open our pool for the summer. And when I say we, I mean Beau. I do put on my bathing suit and watch. But I'm normally busy rearing the children. And when I say rearing, I mean yelling across the yard for them to stop fighting or to refill my beverage of choice.

I am always so thankful that we had the foresight to buy the pool when we did. I love having it and can't imagine summer without it. Everyday is a party and I wouldn't want it any other way. So many awesome nights with family and friends have resulted from our spontaneous purchase. And for certain, one of our children is a direct result of a drunken pool party. Again, wouldn't have it any other way.

One particular summer will always hold a special place in my heart. In May of that year, Beau was laid off. It sucked. But not as bad as finding out that I was laid off as well. So we had no income, no health insurance, three babies, and a pool. It could be worse. We decided there was nothing we could do about our situation, so we might as well enjoy the hell out of the summer of us. And we did. Everyday was a flipping party. We had people over all day, everyday. It would start mid-morning and go until we fell asleep, sometimes before the kids. I am sure we will never have another summer like that. It was a gift.
 
Thank God we had this doorway jumpy thingy to babysit for us that summer.

Around this time, we started the discussion about having another baby. After all, our youngest was almost six-months-old. We wanted to have a fourth and obvi had some weird fetish about having them as close together as possible. And Beau's back was on the mend. It was as if all of the stars were aligning. Now you may be thinking, but wait, you were both unemployed. You had no health insurance. Why in God's name would you purposely bring another life into this mess? It just made sense when we were drinking in the pool. It's a different mindset. Our rationale was, in nine months we would surely be working again. It would be fine. And it was.

The only real obstacle was our besties, Lion and Julissa, were getting married in August. I didn't want to be preggo for that. You know, because I like to get drunk. And I really tried not to drink much while pregnant. So, we decided to wait until after their wedding. It would be perfect. I could be pregnant all winter and be ready to whoop it up again next summer.  Yet, still be able to enjoy the rest of this summer. What could possibly go wrong? We were really pleased with ourselves. I believe we ended that convo with a high-five. Or perhaps something a bit more intimate, because a few days before the wedding, I started feeling funny. Not haha funny, just funny. A funny I was very familiar with. Math has never been my thing and with all of the alcohol I had been consuming all summer, I decided to take the old let's wait and see approach. Besides, I have a strict rule when it comes to taking a pregnancy test. Always do it on a Monday morning. Enjoy the weekend, because it could be your last, for a while. So that's exactly what I did. One of the best weddings ever. And Monday morning my suspicions were confirmed. Baby number four would join us in April. Summer was officially over.

Here I am trying to conceal my baby bump with a beer.
 
When the baby was born, our other kids were three, two, and fourteen months. The only thing I remember being concerned about was, would the pool be big enough? For the record, we did find new jobs just as summer came to an end. I went on to lose that job at the end of the following year. But that's how it is when you work for one of the biggest and saddest school districts in the country. As we embark on another summer of pool parties I can only imagine what the future holds for us. Tons of laughs? For certain. Cold drinks? Always. Baby number five? You never know.

*This blog is dedicated to our friend Devin Dillen who had the absolute greatest reaction when we told him we were having another baby. It was a strange mix of disgust, shock, and sadness all rolled into one look. Thank you, Devin.

*Some of the names have been changed so the people I'm talking about don't know I'm talking about them.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bereaved


Each year I participate in a Celebrity Death Pool run by a genius named Lanny. Yes, I know, it's not for everyone. But it really is fun. Basically it goes like this. You pick ten celebs that you think have a good chance of dying that year and if they do indeed meet their maker, you get points. Their age at the time of death is subtracted from one hundred and that's how many points are awarded. So the younger the celeb, the more points. Most people who participate like to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons, so everyone participates under a pseudonym.  They're really hard to decode, much like the ones used in this blog.

When a young celeb does die, it's not always a surprise. I'm sure everyone can come up with a few off the top of your head right now that wouldn't be a total shock. Some celebs make the list year after year because they're that big of a train wreck. When a young star of Hollywood dies way too young, it's tragic. These are living beings, after all. But when it happens to someone that not many think it's going to happen to, it's miraculous. Especially if you have them on your list.

I actually won the pool a few years ago. It was enough money to buy a flat screen television for my living room before the eight-hundred pound one we had fell on top of one of our kids. So it's some nice cash.  It was a great feeling being the one to predict the demise of so many celebrities. I felt special. Even smart. Definitely superior to all the other poolers. My big pick that year was Amy Winehouse. Of course she was a favorite, so I wasn't the only one to have her. But I had a nice mix of other dead celebs of various ages, and it was enough to put me over the top.

One of my life's biggest regrets will always be not having Whitney Houston. I took her death really hard, because I didn't have her. I'm pretty sure only one person did have her that year. But I will always think of what might have been. She was always number eleven on my list. If only I had made her a finalist. I could have won two years in a row and would have been a legend in the Celebrity Death Pool world. If only.

There have been two amazing picks in my experience with this pool. One person had the foresight to choose Phillip Seymour Hoffman. One person. I will call her Mamie. I barely knew who he was when he was alive, let alone that he had a fancy for heroin.  But, like most celebs, I know him more now, in death. It was an impressive choice to say the least. But by far the all time best celeb death pick goes to a guy I shall call Timmy Ditz. Timmy picked Randy the Macho Man Savage. A former WWF Wrestler. He didn't have any known medical conditions and was only fifty-eight. He no longer wrestled and had no history of substance abuse. He died in a car accident.  I am still amazed every time I think about it. Forty two points for a completely random pick. Ah-may-zeen.

But that's how it goes. You just never know. Sometimes it pays to think outside the box. I try to be more random with my selections now-a-days. Timmy Ditz has taught me a lot about life. And celebrity death.

*Some of the names have been changed so the people I'm talking about don't know I'm talking about them.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grandparent Day (Singular)

Since having kids, the days I really dread are the ones that involve grandparents. Our kids have been robbed in this department. Our kids never knew my parents, or Beau's dad, so they didn't have to experience the heartbreak of losing them like so many of my friends are going through with their kids now. But I think I would still rather them all just be alive. Call me crazy. Because only having one live grandparent really sucks. For everyone. Especially for Beau's mom, Madeline, because she is everything to them. No pressure. But everything falls on her. She has to be grandma and grandpa. She is all that they know. But she has nine grandkids and it's not always easy to spread yourself so thin. But she does. All the time.

Today was Grandparent's Day at my daughter's school. That's what they do instead of a kindergarten graduation. Grandparent's Day. What an awesome idea. For kids with living grandparents. For the kid who had four sets of grandparents there. Four sets. That's eight people this kid refers to as grandma or grandpa. All of the grandparents were divorced and all remarried and all have an active role in this kid's life. They didn't even have enough seats. But it was okay, because we had some to spare. I actually felt bad for this kid. It must be really hard scheduling all of those sleepovers and sorting through all of those Christmas gifts. In the school's defense, they do say you can bring a "special friend" if you're running low on grandparents. At least that's what they wrote on our invite. So that's where Aunt Batsy comes in. You know, because she is special.

Last year when my son was in kindergarten, he invited Aunt Batsy to grandparent's day. They give each kid two invitations. So naturally one went to his grandma and one to the next best thing, Aunt Batsy. She refers to herself as their "almost grandma". They just look at her really confused when she says this. I just pretend I didn't hear it.
So Aunt Batsy knows this day is coming again this year. And she's prepared. She's knows what to expect this time around. And as luck would have it, they perform the same songs as last year. Apparently she's been rehearsing because she sang every song louder than any kid on that stage. She's a performer. Loves the spotlight. She also clapped along, even though neither was encouraged.  People were actually turning around to look at her. She waved at them. Or gave a little wink. But it was fine. Everyone there was in a great mood because they had a special someone on that stage singing to them.

Uh oh. Suddenly, out of no where, smiles turn to tears. The grandparents song. Every single person in that room starts crying. Again, just like last year. I'm the one who should be crying. I'm the only parent here on grandparent's day. It's not even a good song. The lyrics don't even rhyme. But it didn't matter to anyone there. It was as if each kid was a soloist singing just to their special person. Luckily they ended on a high note. With You're A Grand Old Flag and everyone was able to regain composure. Not as fast as Aunt Batsy. She was able to turn off the water works and jump right into that song without missing a beat. It's a gift.

Afterwards, we are invited for some light refreshments. And I mean light. My daughter was as happy as can be. She was very proud of herself and loving every second of her grandma and special friend being there just for her. She has no clue what she's missing. And for that I'm grateful. Heartbroken, but grateful.

*Some of the names have been changed so the people I'm talking about don't know I'm talking about them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Mangover

Hangovers suck. Everyone will tell you. The nausea, the puking, the headaches. The point when you have to take a Xanax to calm down when you start to remember what really happened the night before and have a major case of the creeps. But the Mangover (mom/hangover) is worse. Way worse. It's hell right here on earth. It is something no one can ever prepare you for. 

When you have your first baby you're living in a cloud of sorts. You're really not sure what the heck is going on. You have a drink here and there but you're just too exhausted and too gaga over your little miracle to really get down and dirty. But then it happens. You're not expecting it to happen. You don't even know it's happening until it's way too late. But it happens. You get knee walking drunk and have the time of your life, but when you wake up in the morning you realize, probably on the bathroom floor, probably still clothed from the night before, that you are a parent and have another life to care for. It's almost as shocking as the day you found out you were pregnant, but not nearly as joyous. Back then you had nine months to prepare. Right now someone needs you to feed and change them. This second. It's an awful realization.

 

The Shame. The Embarrassment. The Rage. The Denial. It's all there. I'm a mom. How could I have let this happen? It really doesn't matter how. It happened. Now you have to deal. If you're lucky, the hubs didn't drink the night before or hopefully not as much. If this is the case, you're going to be okay. You can go back to bed and just have to live with the guilt he will bestow on you for years. Easy. But if you both went out and are both insanely hungover, you're in real trouble.

After we had our first there was a night we were over served, probably right here in our own living room. We woke up in the morning and couldn't believe the baby slept through the night. For the first time ever. I was so excited I called my bestie Shelly. Shelly's kids were a few years older than mine. She politely suggested perhaps the baby didn't really sleep through the night, maybe we were the only ones who did. Hmm. Now that did make more sense.

There was another time when Beau and I went out for a few drinks with friends. No big deal, just a few beers. So we thought. When we woke up in the morning we could not function. We had two babies at the time. Two little babies. I can remember us both laying on the kitchen floor feeding them bottles. It was so bad we couldn't even make it to the couch. We also had a Christening we were supposed to be at. I took one for the team and took one baby and went. Beau stayed home with the other baby. That's our marriage. Not 50/50, we give 100/100. That's love. We still count that as our worst Mangover/Dangover combo of all time.

The good news is, the babies grow older. The bad news is, they start to talk and ask questions. A few weeks ago my brother, Dat, invited us over to watch the Hawks game. It was a big game. It was also the first warm night of the year. I was excited. I'm not that big into sports, but I do like drinking while sports are on television. And we were finally going to be outside after a long winter of inside drinking. Long story short, I over indulged. I let the weather and the excitement of the big game get the best of me. I was surrounded by family and friends, so that wasn't a problem. The problem was the next morning when my 5-year-old daughter did a reenactment of me from the night before. It was a new low for me. But it was funny. She nailed it. Perhaps it was not the first time she's seen this show.

Today, I am actually on day three of my three day Mangover. When you're young you're hungover for a day. Maybe not even that long. Then you get a little older and you start to experience the two day. Then after thirty-five it turns into a three day marathon. I'm in the last leg. Almost at the finish line. Almost back to normal. Almost able to consider drinking again. Just tired. Even though I went to bed last night with my kids.

On Saturday night we went to a parish function. A fundraiser for our soon-to-be kids' catholic school. These are always a good time. It's all parishioners. All people you know. All people just like you. All parents just out for a good time to support the cause. The great thing about a school function is that everyone can walk there. No one has to worry about having to drive after a few drinks. So you know going into this what it's going to turn into. And it always does. This night was no different.

We get there and meet up with our family/friends/neighbors. It was a lot of fun. Great people, great drinks, great dancing. Just a good time. The fundraiser ends and we decide we'll go to a bar in the neighborhood and keep the party going for a bit. Not a bad idea. So we continue on with many of the same people. All of the sudden, it's time for that bar to close. But I don't feel like going home just yet. There's more party in me. Never a good idea. Responsible Beau calls it a night and walks home. I go to the late night bar with some friends. Who all happen to be related to me. We close that place and it was all downhill from there.

My cousin Devin walks me home, but it seems Beau forgot to leave the door unlocked for me. Oh that Beau. So I knock. I ring the bell. I shout obscenities. Nothing. Then I think, oh wait, my neighbor Huck has a key! I'll just go bang on his door. It's 5:19am at this point. Devin doesn't think this is a good idea. The voice of reason that he is. He talks me into coming to sleep at his house. Because if there's anything more fun then waking up hungover with your own four kids, it's waking up hungover at your cousin's house with his four kids.

So I wake up around noonish. I check my phone. Seventeen new messages. Wow, I'm popular. Perhaps I made some new friends last night? Nope, just Beau and some friends looking for me. I was quick to point out if Beau hadn't locked the door in the first place I would have been home in my own bed and everyone should just be thankful I'm alive. Devin drives me home the three blocks, thankfully, because I really wasn't up for a walk of shame through the neighborhood I live in with my husband and four children. We pull up to my house and beloved Beau has made a welcome home sign for me and hung it right in the front window. "Welcome Home Mommy". For the entire neighborhood to see. Beau is a real wit. I'm biding my time before I repay him that favor.

Day one of this Mangover wasn't too bad. I quickly showered, trying to wash off the shame. It only helped a little bit. At least I didn't smell like smoke anymore. I was struck by waves of nausea. I did have a headache. I ate a nice greasy lunch and laid in bed the rest of the day. I can honestly say, day two was worse. I was dying. It was such a long day. I was in bed by eight o'clock. Day three is coming along. I'm feeling better and might just be able to muster a glass of wine tonight. Just kidding. Sort of. I'm just looking forward to tomorrow. When I will be me again. Just a loving, caring, nurturing, sober, wife and mom. Until next weekend.

*Some names have been changed so the people I'm talking about don't know I'm talking about them.



Monday, May 19, 2014

An Eggcellent Idea

One night after a couple of glasses of wine, I decided to buy an incubator so that we, as a family, could hatch us some chicks. So I ordered it up. Right there from my phone. One little click is all it took. I had visions of all the fun and laughs we would all share while enjoying this learning experience. It warmed my heart. A few days later my buddy the UPS man rings the bell. What could possibly be in the box? Did someone send me a gift? I opened it up and the visions I had a few nights prior come swirling back in my head. The kids were all excited. What is it? What are we going to do with it? Beau just sat back listening to every last word. Well kids, since I'm a great mom and an educator, we're going to hatch some chicks right here in our very own home. Actually hearing the words spoken aloud, it suddenly didn't sound as fun as it did the other night. When I was drinking. Once again, Beau was rendered speechless. But that wasn't going to stop me. Let's get this bad boy plugged in and make some chicks! The kids could hardly contain themselves.

Turns out the eggs were not included. I must have missed that bit of info. So I just had to get my hands on some eggs and figure out how to turn them into chicks. No biggie. I got the eggs from a farmer and Beau pretty much took it over from there. We set up the incubator in the kids' room. Because that's not gross. But they were excited and I wasn't going to have it in my living room where I'd have to look at it all day. The process took about twelve days. I got a little nervous. What if the eggs didn't hatch? How was I going to explain that one? But they did. Because I'm a great mom. I have to admit it was pretty cool. It was amazing to watch. The kids were really into it. Just when I was thinking about how great I was for drinking wine and shopping online, I realized I had never thought of what would happen when there were actual live chicks in my home. Now what?


All the neighbors came by to meet our newest little additions. I'll never forget the look on my neighbor Gwen's face. I took pictures to post on Facebook. You know, so the world could see first hand what a great mom I was. All the kids took turns holding them. It was adorable. But the excitement started to wear off. The chicks were getting bigger and uglier by the second. They weren't nearly as cute as they had originally been. The kids were scared of them now. No one wanted to hold them. They looked as if they carried disease. One morning Beau found one of the little chickies in bad shape. He had to take it out to the garage and do whatever the hell it is you do to a dying chick to put it out of it's misery. This wasn't part of my original vision. This was starting to feel a little too Little House on the Prairie.

What would I tell the children? I had to prepare a speech. Death is a part of life. The little chick was in chick heaven with all the other little chicks that had gone before him. Turns out the kids couldn't care less. Oh, did that chick die? No tears. No unanswerable questions. They were over it. And now that I had these creatures living in a box on my dining room table, I too, was over it. I was evicting them. It was time. So Beau built them a nice little coop in the yard. And we also had to buy a heat lamp and food. It was turning into quite the little investment. I had already called some farms to find the perfect home for them. But this would have to due for now.


Days turned into weeks. We even had a birthday party here for my brother Dat. I tried wrapping up the chicks as his gift.  He wasn't having it. So close. I finally found a farm that would take them off of our hands. It was not an emotional farewell. More of a good riddance. But the fond memories we'll have forever. I wanted this to be a learning experience and I think it's safe to say we all learned a lot. Now when I start drinking wine by myself late at night, I turn my phone off.

*Some of the names have been changed so the people I'm talking about don't know I'm talking about them.