Dear Mom

Dear Mom:

A lot has happened in these past four weeks.

SOS went to sleep-away.  The camp owners post daily pictures of the campers on a private website.  SOB looks everyday for pictures of SOS. She lives vicariously through SOS’s summer (as do I).

I have learned so much from you, Mom.  Total control without any fingerprint evidence.  My camp “boyfriend” one summer has a son who is a C.I.T. at the camp.  And he was in SOS’s bunk!  Another old time camper sent all her kids and her son is now also a CIT. And SOS knows exactly how to get to Pearl’s house if he was having a really hard time.

Spies in position? Check. 

Camper happy and yet unaware of the mini-cam and walkie-talkies?  Check. 

A mother calmed?  Yeah, no so much.  But better than I would have been.

A dear friend sends her daughter. And funnily enough, guess who SOS was sweet on? I smiled such a big smile when I received a text from my friend about their budding flirtation.

A mother happy?  Hell, yeah. 

Knowing the family of your son’s romantic interest? PRICELESS. 

And a legacy at camp?  Get the wedding planners.

SIDEBAR: SOS’s “intended one” from age 7 and her family are beloved in our family.  I am hopeful they will find their way back to each other or find wonderful partners (like my friend’s young daughter).

And the young girl was staying only half the summer and was leaving that day.  SOS hugged her good-bye and shook hands with her mom.  The most adorable sight ever.

SOS looked happy and connected when we saw him at visiting day.  He was glad to see us, but wanted to make sure we would not kidnap him to New York at half-season!!

SIDEBAR:  I miss him so much, but there was no way that I would bring him back for the shit show that was in full swing in New York City.

In proud Blogger family tradition, I did post a story about a tragedy at a different camp for the camp owners to see.  But, possibly thanks to modern medicine, I watched calmly as SOS went on a sail boat, intentionally tipped it over and then didn’t surface for a few seconds.  I took a series of pictures in real-time so SOB could freak out.  SOS was fine and safe at all times.

Do I hear you say something, Mom?  Could you speak a little louder?  OKOKOKOK, not THAT loud.  Oh, OF COURSE, he had a life preserver around his neck.  In fact he had to expend real effort to stay submerged with that thing on.  Just to test the strength of my heart valves.  Since I didn’t keel over, I guess I have good constitution.

We watched him swim and do other stuff and he seemed comfortable in his skin.  He was so happy to be in the beautiful place where you and Dad sent us for so many summers.

SOS spoke to SOB and Dad.  He was so happy to hear their voices.

And then he wanted us to hug him and kiss and reassure him that his reentry into the real world would be ok.  And then he wanted us to leave.  And I was glad for that because a kid at camp who is having fun should want his parents to leave after a while.

And as a parent, I am grateful for the right choice made.

SOB and I talked shortly after visiting day ended.  ULOB wasn’t doing so well.  We left that night to get back to the City.

Dad wanted to make sure that we did not tell him that ULOB, FOPOB and Dad are failing in different degrees.  He didn’t want SOS’s mind cluttered up with what was happening at home.  See, Mom, through the haze, Dad is still there.

Back to ULOB.  You know the story, Mom.  I made a deathbed promise to Grandpa to take care of ULOB.  And then I made the same deathbed promise to you.  Promises to keep.

But in those hours when his death was imminent, it wasn’t about those promises.  It was about ULOB and easing — in whatever way SOB and I could — his passage from life to death.

We were, in the end, taking care of a hero of our youth, in his less-than-heroic condition.  Giving back to someone who gave us so much, so long ago.  Someone who shaped our lives and senses of humor.

The funeral went as well as possible.  POULOB joined Dad, SOB and me.  ULOB thought of growing old and death as such indignities that we couldn’t let his dance-world friends see his coffin.  Everyone needs to think he is still dancing the Argentine tango someplace else.  ULOB would have wanted it that way.  We are having a memorial service soon for him where he taught dance.

SOB and I led a good service at the graveside.  BOB sent a wonderful remembrance, which we read.

SIDEBAR:  On the way up, from my conversation with POULOB, I got the distinct impression that ULOB didn’t think of SOS as his great-nephew.  It really flipped me out.  But I kept it inside.  I can’t go into it here, when that feeling is raw, but the things he said on our Saturday afternoons together recently suggests that that might be true.  But I need to think more about this and factor in all the times over the last 12 years he was in our home and try to come to peace with this.

After the funeral, I had to go to the office and could not stay for lunch.  SOB produced the money she had from ULOB’s wallet and suggested that ULOB would take everyone out to lunch — to a diner, of course.

SIDEBAR: I made a mental note that that money was in his urine-soaked wallet when SOB found him almost dead.

I asked POULOB if ULOB had listened to my advice and taken her to a nice (non-diner) dinner.  She said he had and swallowed hard before paying.  Well, then, he would certainly want to take his family out for lunch after his funeral.  I agreed with SOB.  ULOB should take everyone to lunch.

SOB had a lovely shiva on Saturday night.  It was hard on POULOB because there were so many pictures of ULOB and AROB together.  I tried to console POULOB but it was a fact of their lives.  AROB is our family.

So, Mom, another end.  All of your kids needed to talk to you about it.  ULOB is the last of those who knew you since childhood.  We took care of ULOB — for you, for him and for us.

A door is closed.  A library is lost.



The Challenge, Part 2

I decided that I am wearing the same clothes each time I go to the Rings (see so that no one can look at pictures and remember a time when I totally sucked at this.  The good news is that I go to the rings once a week (and laundry is done in between) so I won’t smell.

photo(9)So, without Wendy, my trainer, I dutifully headed out to the Rings to practice.  There is a group that generally forms around the Rings at 10am on a Saturday.  Fencers (who practice a little away from the Rings), acrobats and others who want a hard work-out.

A handsome, handsome, guy with dredlocks was hanging out, breathing heavily from a go at the adult Rings.  (Since I am short with a limited wing span, I need to swing on the kiddie Rings.)

SIDEBAR:  While my orientation may be toward women, beauty is beauty, Rasta Man is so striking, that he turned my head.  Back to the blog.

I was having a bad time getting my rhythm on the Rings.  I almost gave up 5 times.  But I watched Rasta Man.  He inspired me.  And he came over when I looked defeated.  He gave me pointers on getting momentum to move “effortlessly” from Ring to Ring.  So, I tried to do what he said.

Then a couple came along.  A perfectly normal woman, with a total dweeby boyfriend — maybe, to give her credit, a blind date.  They were at the other side of the rings.  The DWEEB, with black sneakers, black socks up above his calves and black polo shirt and shorts, beckoned me to go first, in an impatient sort of way.

I shout:  “Don’t worry, I won’t make it to the second Ring!! So, I will be clear of the Rings when you make it over here!!”

The DWEEB grabbed two Rings and tried to lift himself up.

Count with me:  One mississippi, two mississ —-


“This is hard!”

I couldn’t hold back:  “No SHIT, Sherlock.”

Notwithstanding my harsh comment directed squarely at the Dweeb in the sand, his date/girlfriend came over to me and gave me more pointers.

Then, she swung from Ring to Ring with the ease and grace of Tarzana.  MY HERO. 

Except for the DWEEB.


Ah, if not Lord of the Rings, at least the Fellowship of the Rings.


The Challenge

We live close to the “rings” in Riverside Park, where would-be acrobats often practice, and maintain their conditioning.


For years, I have watched people swing on them as naturally as breathing.  Every time I jumped up to grab a ring, I couldn’t hold on.  Too much upper body strength required.

I am pretty fit for being 49 and, this year, I decided that I needed to learn how to swing from ring to ring.  Like Tarzana, Queen of the Jungle.  Some people want to save the world.  Me, I just want to swing from ring to ring.  Probably no coincidence that there are the same number of rings as there are Dante’s rungs of hell.

So, I convinced Wendy, my trainer, to teach me how to do this.

“In the scorching sun?”


Of course, I was trying to make it epic, like the Inferno.  But she didn’t know that.  She thought I was just plain crazy.


First, you have to start your own momentum.  No running starts (at least when you are short like me).  It is like swinging on a swing but sideways, with your arms threatening to come out of their sockets.

So this is how pathetic I looked today.  Unable to get the momentum to move to the next rung.

And now, for what, Wendy promises me, I can do by the end of the month:

The challenge is on!!!!

Family Camp

Like any other family road trip, this had to start with an invasive procedure because SOB needed to make sure that I was healthy enough to drive 8 hours to Cape Cod for family orientation weekend at camp.  (SOS is going this summer; I am not, although in my mind, I am at Wingate, 1972-81.)

Of course, SOB had to take a picture of the ENT doctor’s putting the scope up my nose and down my throat.  The doctor waited about a second after he injected a numbing agent to start the scope.  Needless to say, I felt everything.


After the scope, SOB declared me fit for travel.

“I feel so much better now that we had this procedure done.”

“Who ‘we’, [SOB]? I was the one with that camera up my nose and down my throat!!”

“Details,” concluded SOB in a most satisfied manner.


It was an epic schlep to cold and rainy Yarmouth.  I forgot that camp is outdoors.  Even when we were in the bunks, we were not that much removed from nature and all those creepy, crawly things.  And, certainly, not the cold and wet weather.

SIDEBAR:  I was (must have been) far more rugged as a child.  Now, I merely whimper in the drizzle.

There was no heat in the bunk where we stayed.  ACTUALLY, the camp owners FORGOT to tell us about the heat, so we just froze unnecessarily.  Well, at least SOS was comfy in his super-duper-good-for-the-tundra sleeping bag.  POB and I were not so fortunate. Will (you know who you are), I am deducting from camp tuition any co-pays on any cold meds POB and I need to purchase this week.  And we are expensive patients.  Just sayin’.

I tried to give SOS a wide berth so he could feel independent and get to know the camp and its lay-out on his own.  But, there were some activities that I had to watch.  It was Mom who made me watch when my little baby was in harm’s way with only one life preserver (not discernible in the photo).  photo

Mom wanted me to feel her anxiety, and more importantly, continue her tradition of writing psychotic letters about real and imagined horrors of sleep-away camp.  To channel Mom, I need a mental (and actual) picture on which to concentrate all my anxiety while he spends SEVEN weeks away from his loving (read:  over-protective) mother, doing any number of life-ending activities.

And I didn’t even show the picture of archery WITH REAL ARROWS.

SIDEBAR:  Ok, Will (you know who you are), I am deducting sedatives from the camp tuition.

SECOND SIDEBAR:  Pearl (you know who you are), you are so lucky that Mom didn’t do the same.  Just sayin’.

Put one of those arrows in my heart and get it over.  Mom, if you are listening from Heaven, WALK AWAY FROM THE PHONE.  No grandchild of yours is playing with bows and arrows.  Did I mention that each arrow is doused with curare?  OOOOOooops, but Heaven is not listening, thank G-d.

Because of the rain, campfire was indoors.  (no, Mom, they have sense enough not to start a REAL fire indoors.)  The current owners invited those of us who had been campers in decades past to light the fire (figuratively).  It was moving.

It was also a passing of the torch from one generation to another.

The place had echos of the camp of my youth, but it is a different camp.  A camp that SOB, BOB, and POB can share with SOS, but different enough that it will be his special experience alone.  And that, for all my nostalgia, is what matters.

SOS had a great time, in the rain.  Which means, he will have an extraordinary time in the sunshine this summer.

The question is: will I survive his summer away?




Wonder and Awe

Life is complicated.  The carousel of time often feels like a gerbil’s exercise wheel.

Now that we are adults, we are mostly surrounded by colleagues, other parents, strangers (and just plain strange people), and family.  But not friends.  (And while colleagues, life partners and family can be friends, it isn’t ever simple.)  And, while we may love our lives, our families and our work, “carefree” does not describe any activity that comes to mind.

I think we all go through periods when our self-esteem and our souls feel depleted.  If you are lucky, there is a special place you can go (either in your mind or with your body) for solace, resolve and validation.  And, if you are really, really, lucky, this place is there even if you forget about it for decades.

I am one of these really, really, lucky people.  This weekend, 49 similarly blessed women and I returned to Camp Wingate (and still others were carried to Yarmouth in our hearts and memories).

Once I drove past the camp sign, I was transported to another place and time, where the days were about friendship, nature and self-discovery.

No one could pretend that 30 or more years had not passed and no one tried (ok, I lunged for a ball on the tennis court that will put me in traction, but I digress).

We came to see each other and breathe in the memories of summers as young girls and blossoming women.  And to visit our special place, where we could do anything and be anything.

It is amazing how good the air smelled (still).  How gross the bathrooms are (still).  How thin the mattresses are (still).  How stiff we were in the mornings (now, not then).  How early we wanted to go to sleep (wow, full circle, huh?) but powered through to maximize time with each other.  How the tennis courts got bigger (ok, we just can’t run down those balls any more) and Elisha’s Pond got smaller (“lake” was never really an appropriate word).  How wonderful to catch up while making friendship bracelets in the art studio or playing tennis with wood racquets.

And the comfort that still, among the many unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, mysteries of the universe, are:

  • How did Pearl know and remember every bad (and good) thing each of us did each summer?
  • What were we thinking when we used to walk on the rail road tracks to L’il Peach to buy candy?  It was an active train route!!! 
  • How did Pearl survive our childhoods?   How did we?
  • And why did she keep letting us come back?

But wait, there are a few more:  Where else in the world could I be considered part of an awesome DJ trio for compiling and playing summer pop songs of the 1960s-80s?  Where else could I dance with childlike abandon with my childhood friends and without regard to any rhythmic sequence?  Where else could 40-, 50- and 60-year olds (promise me no one was in her 30s) could have endless hours of fun singing these songs into hair brushes and flashlights and strumming on tennis racquets?

Wingate helped lay the foundations that made us strong, kind, purposeful people.   At campfire, even the words to the Circle Game or Anticipation weren’t so scary because here we were, decades later, standing with the friends of our youth and feeling enveloped by love, and realizing that the goodbyes said decades ago don’t always have to be permanent.

My spirit is revived, my mind is peaceful, my soul is nourished and I left an even bigger piece of my heart at Camp Wingate.

Ramblings from our week on vacation

This year, as in years past, we rented a house near the beach with a pool.  I like having a pool because there are no currents, rip tides or undertows.  With a pool, I don’t have to watch my loved ones drift helplessly away in a strong undertow as I try to swim against the tide to rescue them.  I can just jump into a finite pool of water and drag them to safety.  And this year, it was a salt-water pool (it still has chlorine, but less).

Still, for me, the ocean and its sounds are a lullaby to my sometimes sad and tired soul,  Except, of course, when SOS is swimming in it.  Then, it becomes this mercurial power, able to allow young children to frolic one moment, and drag them out of reach in a fit of anger the next.  I never thought of the sea this way until I became a mom. Then, I remember what a lunatic MOB was about the ocean and her children.  And I know whence the neurosis (psychosis) comes.

Back story: MOB wrote letters to our camp director every summer, complete with clippings, about tragedies that happened at summer camps.  To be fair, lifeguards had to rescue my sister from an powerful undertow while on a camp beach trip in the early 70s.

These letters started as the neurotic rantings of a crazed mom (can’t you do something about the waves at the beach? Tuna fish sandwiches are unsafe if left unrefrigerated for even a MINUTE).

But over twelve years and three Blogger family children having survived camp, they morphed into amusing missives that the camp director enjoyed getting by hand delivery on visiting day.

But those letters did cause tense moments for me.  On visiting days, I was not allowed near water, even a puddle.  I was allowed to play tennis, volleyball and do arts and crafts.  No softball (MOB sent clippings of kids dying from getting smacked in the head by a baseball or softball), no water sports, or anything else that might cause MOB to write a SECOND letter in one summer.

Yet, one visiting, the only option for the first activity was “tippy canoe” (where we canoed out to the middle of the lake, tipped the canoe over and then swam under the canoe to breathe in the air pocket that was created).  In front of the entire camp, the camp director, bellowed, “[Blogger], are you SURE your mother is not coming until the second activity?”  When I nodded yes, she continued, looking at the counselors, “This young lady needs at least two more life preservers than necessary because if her mother is early . . . . ” She trailed off as if everyone knew that the consequences would be the end of life as we know it.

Now, back to the present:

SOS loves the ocean and we let him frolic, but under watchful eyes looking for the slightest change in the tides.  And he ate some serious sand when he wiped out on his boogie-board a few times. He can get scraped up and bruised, even have a lot of water up his nose.  He just cannot drown.

But, thank G-d, he is perfectly happy in a pool.  And I love cement-enclosed, stagnant water (West Nile virus, be damned!), although I actually check the filtration system daily to make sure the water is cleaned.  Call me crazy, because everyone else does.

So, we do a little bit of both, pool and ocean.  And he doesn’t need to know the fear behind these watchful, loving eyes. Until he is old enough to read this blog.

Strawberry Letter 23

“Hello, my love, I heard a kiss from you.  Red magic satin playin’ near, too.  All through morning, I gaze . . . rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind. . . .”  I don’t understand any of the lyrics, but the Brothers Johnson remind me of summer at camp in the earl 1970s and singing into my hairbrush along with my bunk mates.

I also just listened to “The Best of My Love” which, years later, made Karen Clarke jump up during rest hour, defying the rules, and start dancing while singing into her hairbrush.  The rest of the bunk followed suit and our version of civil disobedience, circa 1977, ensued.  Far from cracking down on the rebellion, the counselors joined in.

I am more attuned to music now that POB (partner of blogger) and I are talking to bands about our wedding.  Since we met at camp, these songs have resonance.  Camp, and the mutual trust that was embedded in that experience, is the bond upon which we were able to start building wonderful life together.  So, these songs need to be part of our celebration.

Because these are the ties that bind.  And those of you who spent idyllic summers at Camp Wingate in the 1970s know about that bond.  And how it shaped us.

And I am lucky to be marrying a Wingate girl.

Vacation with a 9 year old

Vacation with a 9 year-old is an oxymoron, because vacation implies relaxation.   So, let’s call it a trip to the beach.

There are high points and low, low points.  I would like to think that we are both having growth spurts — he is maturing and I am becoming a more patient parent.

Elements of salvation:

  1. sunny days,
  2. a house with a pool,
  3. a steep driveway (awesome for scootering WITH HELMET and various other protective gear),
  4. wi-fi (that was an unexpected bonus),
  5. evening TV (Scooby-Doo mysteries), and
  6. wine.

Did I mention wine?  G-d’s elixir.



Our [rental] house is a very, very fine house.  Wait for it . . .  yes!  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Except it has a buffalo skull and a shot gun over the fireplace.  A gun?  a GUN?  A GUN?  Omigod, that thing could kill a person!!!

More about this later, but first:

Thursday was a crazy day.  I kept thinking this sounds like a movie, “A Boy, His Friends, Their Dogs, A Cousin and Assorted Adults”.  Our dear friends and their kids and their two chihuahuas were still without power after Hurricane.  5 DAYS.  Camping out at home cannot be that much fun even if you are outdoorsy people like they are.  (And if you are an indoorsy person like me, a minute in suburbia is too much contact with nature.)

We told our friends to pack up everything in the car and come over.  We were happy to have them.  If their power hadn’t come on while they were over on Thursday, we insisted that they would stay with us through the weekend.

We helped unload the car when they arrived.  In came the ice chest that they have been schlepping around with their perishables, as well as non-perishables that no Jew could live without: garlic, onions and antacids.  They stopped off at a farmer’s market, so when they walked in, one said in way so reminiscent of my grandparents, “we brought such a sweet melon, we should eat it right away!!”  And the stuff kept coming:  the beds for the dogs, the beach and swim gear. . . It was amazing.  It reminded me of when my family used to pack up to go to our weekend house, and my father would look at all of the stuff and say, “we could travel to Europe for six months with less!”

Once the unpacking was complete, I offered alcohol, homemade potato salad (delicious, really), or whatever else would make the adults calm and happy.  They just wanted to turn on and off the lights and keep flushing the toilets.  After five days, this woooosh sound is apparently as soothing as waves at the beach.

Then our nephew and sister-in-law came over.  Three young boys in one house for a “play date”.  Three boys looking longingly at the rifle.  Testosterone on full display.

Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy,  “It’s for show”.  “It doesn’t fire.”  “It is ORNAMENTAL.”

That’s what these boys hear from an overabundance of mothers and an absence of fathers.  Do they believe us?  They better, else the rifle will be the least of their worries.  The boys know this but can’t help but focus on the real rifle that we say is ornamental.  Let me take a moment to reflect on the little sleep I have gotten knowing there is a gun in the house. I need another vacation in a Quaker commune to make up for this.

Power was restored in our friends’ house, so we packed EVERYTHING back into the car.  What a monumental task.  It jogged another memory of my Dad’s also telling the doormen of our apartment building that we weren’t really going away only for a weekend; we were actually moving out west to start a farm but since we don’t know anything about farming, we needed to bring a year’s worth of food.

Friday was a relaxing day.  SNOBFOB (see prior blogs about the Alternate View) invited us over for dinner at her house in the area.  What a fabulous, relaxing evening.  SOS (our son, source of sanity) thinks SNOBFOB is awesome and loved looking at the moon and stars from her deck.  He also loved that SNOBFOB let him explore the house.  And a specially made cheeseburger, potato chips and vanilla ice cream just made a little boy soooo happy.  “E-Mom, I like your friends.”  “Thanks, buddy.”  “We can go back tomorrow if you like.”  “Buddy, we have to wait for an invitation first.”  “But [SNOBFOB] said we could come over any time!!”  “Dude, we are going to bask in the glow of having been good guests for a little while.”  “Mommy, what is E-Mom talking about?”

Saturday, another chill out day.  The pool.  The beach.  The pool.  Rest hour after lunch.  The pool.

We had our nephew, POB’s (partner of blogger’s) sister and POB’s father over for dinner.  Again, three little boys over, although the 84 year-old one was slow moving and just wanted to watch the Mets game.  The two boys played in the pool before dinner. And we played basketball in the driveway.  So much fun.  POB got it on tape and she promised me that there is no footage of my slightly thickening waistline.

It was a lovely day.  The COB (colleague of blogger) sent me a message on Facebook making sure I knew that a pile of stuff awaited me upon my return.  The COB was being funny and I got the humor.  Still, I logged off Facebook.

Today is our last full day here. . . .


We are heading out tomorrow for vacation.  So, today, was the last day of staycation.  It was a gorgeous day in New York City today.  After POB (partner of blogger) came back from the gym, I got ready for my run and 2 hours of mindlessness.

As I left POB and SOS (our son, source of sanity), they were fighting over the TV remote control, because POB wanted to watch the rest of Phineas and Ferb (Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s embarrassing high school tape and the importance of the aglet — ok, you had to see it) and SOS wanted to watch something about swamp monsters.  Ah, a typical day in Paradise.

I only run because it is quick and easy (I stop shortly after starting).  And, clearly, I don’t run very far.  And running doesn’t accurately portray that which I do, which is a lazy, and somewhat resentful stumble. To the casual observer, I might be late for an appointment and haplessly jogging, all the while looking over my shoulder to see if a cab were coming.

But my knees and my back hurt, even from this pathetic display at athleticism.  So, a few weeks ago, I went to the Super Runners Shop and bought these crazy slipper-like sneakers that are supposed to make me run toe-heel, toe-heel, toe-heel.  Apparently, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe is bad for aging knees and backs.

So I tried toe-heel and for a while (ok, three minutes) I felt great — I was using my calf muscles and I got into a toe-heel, toe-heel, toe-heel groove.  Actually, I couldn’t figure out about the heel thing.  So I was doing toe toe toe toe toe toe toe.  My ankles hurt and what do you do with your heel?

These shoe-slippers of Mercury (or Hermes, depending on your preferred mythology) were just a waste of money, although my calves have some definition (if you use a magnifying glass).  Ok, so these were for super runners.  I need shoes for stupid runners.

I went back to the shop wearing my fab footwear and asked for something with some cushion and a little less emphasis on what hits the ground first.  If I am running fast, the balls of my feet hit first.  If I am jog-running, who the hell really knows.

So I have new running (ok, schlepping) shoes.  The least offensive color combination was white and hot pink.  And that required me to pay more (of course).  But I figure the pink will be an important feminine counterpoint to my accidentally severe haircut (IFOB (Italian friend of blogger), I will never let you live this down).

(Janet Napolitano (US Secretary of Something), I hope you are reading this.  You need an emergency hair style consult.) 

Then I napped and, since we had a rental car, we were off to the BIG Fairway on 125th Street, where you could spend the gross domestic product of a third world nation on what we term “essentials”.  And we were stocking up for the beach in case supplies were still short in Hurricane affected areas.

Stores that big scare me and I was getting a little unhinged as POB was discussing the pros and cons of a new blend with the coffee guy.  Also, POB is a comparison shopper.  Even in the Cold Room (the room where the temperature is below 40 degrees so that fewer refrigeration units are necessary).  I am in a t-shirt and we are shivering and POB wants to compare the prices of various organic yogurts.  REALLY?  REALLY?  REALLY?  Is this vacation or is this hell?  Would I rather be checking my work email in the warmth than comparing biotic statistics and price of yogurt in a subzero room?  At this point, I am thinking that a run even in my toe toe toe toe toe toe shoes from hell seems like an inviting activity.

I guess the point is (do I ever have a point and does that matter?) that tomorrow we start a vacation.  And we are all really glad about it.