I Had A Lovely Weekend. I Think. (and verb problems)

Dear Kid,

I have been kidnapped. I will be kidnapped. I was kidnapped.

“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” ― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, DearKidLoveMom.comAll of the above are equally true and equally false.

Let’s start with the timeline. I’m writing this last week (It is last week as I’m writing. Except it isn’t. It’s now. But by the time you read this, it will have been last week). Explaining the timeline is not as easy as I’d hoped.

Timeline Take 2. I’m writing this letter on Friday because I am going to be deprived of my computer for the weekend. Later today (or last Friday, as it were), Dad is kidnapping me.

Perhaps kidnapping is too strong a word. Since I am going willingly. Happily. And I expect to be returned, no worse for wear, in a few days (by today, in fact).

We’re celebrating our anniversary and Daddy is surprising me with a trip. Here’s what I know so far: We’re leaving Friday evening (Pi is coming home to Puppy sit and study). Saturday evening is dressy. The rest of the time I need to look casual but nice. There will be coffee. I’m not allowed to bring a computer.

Which means the trip is not a surprise but the destination is. Except that by the time you read this the destination won’t be a surprise—at least not to me because the weekend will be over.

I’m sure I had a lovely weekend. Will have had.

My verb tense usage and I need a nap.

Love, Mom

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Snuggled Under the Comforter Until Spring

Dear Kid,

I understand that exercise is good. I understand that it’s important to get up and move around a little every now and then.

But it’s cold. And I’m snuggled under the covers and I do not wish to emerge until spring.

But it’s cold. And I’m snuggled under the covers and I do not wish to emerge until spring. DearKidLoveMom.comThe warm part of spring.

So I’m trying to figure out how to do everything from the cocoon of my comforter. Some things are easier than others.

Thinking. Easy.

Writing to you. Easy.

Cooking. Difficult.

Showering. Pretty much impossible.

Talking on the phone. No problem.

Going to work. Big problem.

Online shopping. Uncomplicated.

IRL shoe shopping. Complicated.

Sleeping. Easy.

Brushing teeth. Tricky.

I remember reading a science fiction story about a guy who was severely injured. While he was recuperating, he was confined to bed. And the chief computer took care of everything—including somehow managing to instantly clean the sheets when he, um, soiled them. I’m not saying I want to pee in bed, but if the technology were available I wouldn’t have to tiptoe through the arctic to get to the bathroom.

Just sayin’.

Love, Mom

Happy Birthday, Auntie M!

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Great Customer Service | It’s Rare, But It Exists

Dear Kid,

Unfortunately, stories about rotten customer service abound. “I can’t believe I had to stand in line for half an hour and then they got my order wrong.” “You would not believe how rude that salesperson was!” “If I’d wanted bruised tomatoes, I’d have picked out bruised tomatoes! There was no reason for the clerk to throw my produce down the belt like that!”

Veterans and More | Thank You to All Who Keep Us Safe DearKidLoveMom.comWhat’s even more unfortunate is that we’ve come to expect terrible service. “Allow an extra half hour.” “Oh, look. They only messed up half my order—things are improving.”

Every now and then, we find great customer service. Not just good (which is surprising in and of itself) but great.

Such is the case with the support team at SKT Themes.

SKT Themes creates designs (themes) for WordPress websites, and I recently had the opportunity to contact their support team because I sort of, um, messed up the code (not on DearKidLoveMom.com—on another site).

Not only did Shri respond promptly (I know, crazy, right?), he was helpful. When I still couldn’t fix the problem, he had one of the programmers sign into the site and – shazam! problem solved. Pretty wonderful.

Then when I had another question, he sent me a video explaining the solution. He didn’t say “go find a video” he kindly sent me the link. Happy me.

I’m hoping not to break the website again, but if I do help is only an email away.

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful experience today.

Love, Mom

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Trial Separation, Fitbit, and Couch Diving

Dear Kid,

I would have preferred to tell you in person, but since I won’t see you for a while I decided not to wait.

My Fitbit and I are having a trial separation. DearKidLoveMom.comMy Fitbit and I are having a trial separation.

It’s not that we don’t love each other; we do. And this is in no way your fault or your sister’s fault; we don’t want you to think that at all. We both love the two of you very, very much. Sometimes these things just happen.

We’re perfectly suited for each other, my Fitbit and I. Fitbit is purple; I love purple. Fitbit accumulates all sorts of information; I’m a data junkie. Fitbit sits quietly and only gives answers when asked to do so; I give all sorts of commentary all the time and appreciate an appliance that knows when not to interrupt.

And we’ve been through a lot together, my Fitbit and I. Miles and miles and miles on flat terrain and on stairs. On the track and on the carpet. And many, many nights of snoozing, cuddled together while Fitbit monitors my sleep and gently blares a wake up buzz at the appointed hour.

It’s not the rude awakenings that are splitting us up.

It’s not even the overly cheerful insistence that Just 2,583 More Steps And I’ll Hit My Goal!

It’s far worse than that.

I was charging my Fitbit (as we age, we require that more often) from my laptop while I sat on the couch and worked. I forgot it was plugged in, moved my laptop, and – catastrophe. The little plastic part on the back stayed with the chord. The Fitbit fell off.

And the little tiny button that makes everything work disappeared.

I started to search and found nothing. Quickly Dad and the Puppy joined in the hunt.

You have No Idea the amount of, um, stuff we found that the couch had eaten.

Three pencils, two pens, a check book register, a folded up Mentos wrapper (lookin’ at you, kiddo), an earring, 2 earring backs (neither of which were related to the earring), a pair of scissors, various scraps of paper, a wide variety of crumbs, an apple seed, a sock, three hair elastics, two barrettes, a small rock, five business cards, a blob of something we never managed to identify, a plastic bag, a small family of marmosets, and a bobby pin.

No money. No small piece for a Fitbit.

Which means that my beloved Fitbit is, at least for the moment, just a piece of purple plastic one can wear as a decoration if one chooses to.

I do not choose to.

I think we’ll go couch diving again to give it one more try to find the piece. After that, we have some serious thinking to do about our relationship.

Just thought you should know.

Love, Mom

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Weather versus Soup

Dear Kid,

The weird and wacky weather is messing with my meal planning.

Yeah, OK. I don’t do a lot of meal planning. But if I did actually plan meals the weather would be messing things up.

On the other hand, we don’t have to shovel rain and clouds DearKidLoveMom.comBecause it’s February. Which means “middle of the winter” in MidWestSpeak.

And Middle of the Winter means soups and stews and shepherd’s pie and casseroles and other things that take a long time to cook and wrap you in a warm hug when you eat them.

The actual weather on the other hand is chiming in with temps in the 50s and 60s. Not exactly inspiration for soup.

On the other hand, we don’t have to shovel rain and clouds, so I think I’ll stick with what we’ve got.

Not like I have a choice anyway…

Love, Mom

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Ick. That Can’t True. Can It?

Dear Kid,

Yesterday I heard one of the grossest things I’ve heard recently (and I encounter “ick” all the time). I was told that artificial vanilla flavor comes from the anal glands of beavers.

Ick. That Can't True. Can It? DearKidLoveMom.comUm, what?

The source was highly reliable, but…hmmm….

So I did what anyone named me would do. I turned to My Friend the Internet. Specifically, I turned to Ye Olde Snopes.

The answer (as it turns out) is a bit of “yes” but mostly “no” (so no need to run screaming to clean out your pantry—at least not because of this).

It turns out that beavers use one end of their bodies to eat (and gnaw trees) and the other to do several things including secrete castoreum which they use to mark their territories. When people get hold of castoreum, they use it in perfumes or as a food additive to enhance vanilla, strawberry, and raspberry flavors.

But the use of castoreum in food is pretty rare. There aren’t that many beavers lining up to have their castoreum harvested. In fact, in most beavers consider having humans touch their nether regions rather unwelcome and scream for HR to take action. Hostile work environment! In addition, there aren’t that many humans lining up be beaver milkers. Which means that castoreum is rare and therefore expensive.

The total annual national consumption of castoreum, castoreum extract, and castoreum liquid combined is only about 292 pounds, which works out to an average of less than a millionth of a pound per person in the U.S. That’s pretty dang rare.

So chances are that any artificial flavors you encounter never encountered anything more wild than a test tube.

Love, Mom

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Today’s Story is the Feel Good Story of the Year | Hippo Baby

Dear Kid,

Be prepared to smile. Today’s story is the feel good story of the year. Or at least of the day.

Today’s story is the feel good story of the year. DearKidLoveMom.comOn January 24, a preemie was born (6 weeks early). Severely underweight, she weighed only 29 pounds. I speak, of course, of Fiona, the baby hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo less than a month ago.

Most preemies face challenges in the first few weeks of life and the zoo staff has been taking very good care of Fiona (especially when she turns into a princess during the day).

She was doing fine and gaining weight (she’s still has a few brownies to go until she hits 50 pounds). Until she became dehydrated recently. So the medical staff at the zoo gave her an IV. But babies, especially preemies, have teeny tiny little bitty (even small) veins which couldn’t hold the IVs. They tried multiple times, but couldn’t get a vein to cooperate long enough to give Fiona enough fluid.

Fortunately, right next door to the Zoo is Children’s Hospital (you’ve been there) and the NICU pros know all about teeny tiny little bitty (even small) veins. So they raced over to the zoo to help.

It took five bags of fluid, but Fiona is doing much, much better. (Yay!)

Stay tuned for baby hippo updates.

Love, Mom

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