3.31.2010

Ready or Not ... There it Goes

Not to be outdone by her sister, Sheridan lost her tooth on Monday night. After the Seder. When she was WAY overtired and needed to just go...to...sleep.

Instead, in pure Sheridan fashion, she was fooling around on the step stool in the bathroom, and in the craziest, most unbelievable story, somehow managed to open up her mouth while Matt was washing her face. And the washcloth caught her tooth. Though Matt didn't have any idea. Because, before she even began to cry, Matt saw the blood. Blood that wouldn't stop flowing out of her mouth.

So he quickly took inventory, saw that it was her tooth, and frantically began searching for it. He was afraid she swallowed it. It took a few minutes, but they eventually found her little chicklet tooth on the floor. Under the step stool. By the sink.

And once she surveyed the damage, she was quickly informed by her older sister that she needed to buck up, because the tooth fairy pays top Rupee for the second tooth.

Sheridan sat down at the kitchen table and wrote her note to the tooth fairy. By herself. Boy was she proud.

And rich. Apparently, "T.F." (as she's affectionately known) slipped Rs. 150 (about $3) under her pillow sometime during the night. Though I have on good authority that she will pay a heck of a lot more when Sheridan finally loses those top snaggle tooth and black tooth.

Come to think of it ... where I can get a few extra Rupees. Anyone know what a balding, graying 39 year old is going for these days?




Sheridan's note to T.F. says..
"This is my second tooth. When my dad was washing my face
I was opening my mouth it fell out. Love, Sheridan"

3.30.2010

MishPerlSim Seder 2010

Last night we celebrated Passover with 40 members of the Consulate and Chennai community at the Consular General's home. It was a beautiful evening filled with Matzo Balls, Kugel, and Gefilte Fish. While there were three families who coordinated the festivities, our friends who are a tad more pious than us, ran the Seder. I mean, Matt totally could have done it ... though it would have probably lasted all of two minutes as he said something to the effect of, "We were oppressed. We overcame. Let's eat". Instead, Mark and Lisa took the reigns and performed a wonderfully informative, yet traditional Seder ... while managing to merge tradition with brevity.

I spent the weekend and all day yesterday slaving over scrawny chickens in order to prepare my ever-so-yummy Matzo Ball soup, and brine to cook one of my Butterball Turkeys. Thankfully I planned ahead and brought 2 small boxes of Matzo Meal to make the Matzo Balls. However, I wasn't sure I had enough, so I borrowed some plain Matzo from my girlfriend and created makeshift Matzo Meal to make a few extra Matzo Balls (which were delicious, yet a tad dense and sunk to the bottom of the soup).

Riley actively participated in this year's Seder by reading out of the Hagaddah, including reading "The 4 Questions" in English. I must admit, she was mighty impressive. She continued her streak by then finding the Afikomen... much to her sister's chagrin... and even given a few extra Rupees by one of our friends for her wonderful reading.

The dinner was a pleasant success with everyone contributing to the potluck, and ensuring that they made a dish that was void of anything Chametz (leavened products ... or as I call it ... anything tasty). And everyone even stayed after the festivities concluded to schmooze, recline, and attempt to finish the 7 open bottles of wine...

Take a peek at our special evening.












3.26.2010

Spring Break 2010; Peace, Privacy, and Pachyderm Poo

We decided to see more of India on this vacation, so on Wednesday, we set out early and made our way across the river Cauvery to our first destination; The Dubare Elephant Camp, about 35 km from the resort. To be on the safe side, I took preemptive measures to avoid seeing breakfast again ... and drugged the girls and myself with Dramamine before we left the hotel.

We arrived at the camp around 9:30 am and after showing our ID cards and negotiating the local entry price, we took a small water taxi across the river, and hopped out right next to five elephants taking their morning bath. The girls couldn't contain their smiles at seeing the elephants up close and personal. Only in India could you scrub the belly of an unrestrained, 4 ton wild animal, with absolutely no regard for safety, and with little to no supervision. Though hesitant at first to get in, Sheridan for fear of getting crushed, and Riley from the floating elephant turds, they did. Albeit quickly. They were so grossed out with the poop, that it was all Matt could do to coax them in the water, splash them a few times and pose for several photos before they ran out and dried off. I can't say that I blame them.

The operable word for the camp was rustic, not very well run, but definitely interesting. We were the only Westerners there, and thus became as much of an exhibit as the elephants... with Grady in the Baby Bjorn and Riley having a complete meltdown because she had to go to the bathroom, refusing to 'go' in a bush, and finally peeing her pants in front of everyone. So much for trying to blend in... After we 'bathed' the elephants, we watched them being fed.

We opted to forego the elephant rides and instead make our way to our next location; the Bylekuppe Tibetan Settlement. This settlement is the second largest outside of Tibet and is complete with a Tibetan Monastery, 7000 monks, a Tibetan village, and a flea market. We walked through the Monastery and inside the Buddhist temple, and snapped a few photos rather quickly as it was hot, it was lunchtime, and the girls were melting down just as quickly as the chocolate ice cream bars they were eating. Maybe faster.

We spent the rest of our time on our vacation at the pool. Which is really all the girls wanted to do anyway. Swimming. Playing. Fighting. Playing. Laughing. Tattling. Time Outs. Playing with their brother. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

In all we had an enjoyable time on our vacation. The peace and solitude helped us unwind and prepare for the eleven crazy weeks ahead. As far as Indian resorts go, it was nice but exhibited quirks that at times were too much to handle. Like when I wanted to get a cappuccino. Which you can only get in the Coffee Lounge. Not in the restaurant. That doesn't open until 8:30 am. And doesn't allow kids inside as it's a 'silent zone'. And doesn't let you take the coffee out... into your room ... or better yet, even in the restaurant. Where you just want to drink it while having breakfast. Or lunch. But the Coffee Lounge doesn't stay open late. So forget having a cappuccino with dinner. Or with dessert. Because the restaurant doesn't open up and start serving dinner until 7:30 pm. So now I have no cappuccino to drink and overly tired kids who just want to eat their dinner and go to bed. And I'm now cranky too because I just want a cappuccino and to send my kids to bed, which I can't do because they haven't had dinner yet, and it's late.... and.... See my problem?

Although a little trying to get to, once you got to the resort you really felt like you were away. Which you were. Nine hours from Chennai. However, it took almost twelve to get back as the train left Mysore two hours late. And by that point, we had enough of the symphony of phlegm clearing and farting from our fellow passengers.

It was nice to finally get 'home'.

Here are some photos from our adventure...





The train ... and the potty I thought I'd have to use ...
until I discovered the Western one... which was just as 'clean'.




TGFTI (aka... Thank Goodness For The iPod) ... and for Grady finally taking a nap.







Our cottage on the left. The Coffee Lounge on the right.




Coracle ride on the river Cauvery. Hanging out in the pool.




At the Dubare Elephant Camp.




In Bylekuppe at the Tibetan Settlement.

3.24.2010

Greetings From Orange County...

... in Coorg, India, where the Perlman's are enjoying yet another family adventure.

We left during the pre-dawn hours for the train station Monday morning to catch the Shatabdi Express from Chennai to Mysore, and were booked in the air conditioned first class train that left at 6 am. Upon arrival at the station, we hired a porter to schlep our bags and help us negotiate through the throngs of travelers to miraculously find our train. Once we found a majority of our seats, we had to kindly request to swap seats with other passengers in order to be together ... as of course, the travel agent was unable to reserve five seats together.

The ride down to Mysore on the express train took seven hours, which included a fifteen minute stop in Bangalore. This portion of the travel was relatively painless ... as the seats were comfortable, they served food and drinks, and the bathrooms were somewhat usable (that is, after I discovered that there was a western toilet).

We were met at the Mysore train station with a car and driver dispatched from our resort in Coorg. We crammed into his Toyota Qualis and continued on for two more hours down the windiest and most dangerous road I've ever been on, frequently facing head on passing traffic, reckless driving, grazing animals, and speed bumps coming out of nowhere. To top it off, the last 50 km consisted of a single-lane broken pavement, insanely curvy ride through the woods. Thank goodness the kids and I were asleep for most of the trip as it was TOTALLY vomit worthy (... and I'm already worried about the ride home...)

However, once we arrived at the resort, and the girls and my nausea dissipated, we were checked into our quaint little two-room cottage overlooking the rice paddies and coffee fields. It is utterly serene. The Orange County Resort sits on 350 acres and is one of the oldest Coffee Plantations and first trial plantation of rubber by the British in India. The resort was built in 16th century Tudor style complete with thatched roofs, chimneys, wooden beams, and cobble stone pathways. It also comes with its own set of insects... including big hairy eight legged ones with bodies and legs the size of Riley's hand. Thankfully the resort keeps "The Boys" on hand to take care of these creepy crawlies when you hysterically call the front desk to reports their whereabouts on the wall of your bedroom.

We spent our first afternoon lounging around the pool, and yesterday relaxing, swimming, leisurely walking around the expansive property, and taking a coracle ride down the river cauvery.

I have tons of photos, and lots more stories, though my laptop refuses to connect to the internet, and Grady is melting down as I sit here typing in the front lobby. Once we get home late tomorrow night, I'll write about today's travels to the Dubare Elephant Camp and Tibetan Monk Monastery in Bailakuppe. Until then... send us your insect free thoughts.

3.21.2010

What A Week...

I'm in the midst of packing for another family vacation, and just realized that it's been almost a week since I've posted any gratuitous baby photos or given an update on the latest. Lucky for y'all, I'm frantically rushing around for our early morning departure, so I'll keep this brief.


The few highlights from this past week ...


* We spent last weekend at Fisherman's Cove, a beach resort just south of Chennai. We enjoyed a fabulous two days of frolicking in the surf, lounging by the pool, and good company.

* We celebrated Matt's birthday on Monday and went to a new Tex Mex restaurant for what I would consider, an awesome meal of fajitas, burritos, and nachos. And the best part? The bill was only $14.75... though I would gladly have paid more. He was worth at least $15.

* We bid adieu to dear friends who left Chennai on Friday and went back to the States for their home leave and language training. It's always hard to say good-bye when your friends become your virtual family.

* Matt got HR paneled, which means that everything is moving forward and we're now eligible to get our travel orders processed / completed for our impending June departure.

* Watching the little guy stand up in the middle of the room all on his own. Thankfully he's not quite ready to walk, though I need to start thinking about baby proofing.

* We sold our car on the local economy! Despite full disclosure of its prior 'issues', the Indian national was willing to purchase it for our asking price. We're now waiting for all of the approvals, which should come in just around the time of our departure.

* We've already received over $200 for my fundraising project. There's still plenty of time to donate.... either by check or PayPal. If you need instructions, click here...


We're off tomorrow morning for a mini vacation... and this time we're taking the train! Wish us a little bit of sanity as we travel for 7 hours by train and then 2 hours by car to get to our resort. Let's hope we don't encounter any vomit... fingers crossed.

Have a great week!

Oh yeah, if you're interested in reading any other Foreign Service blogs and finding out what others deal with at their posts all over the world, go here... Kolbi puts together an impressive weekly round-up of State Department blogs. Enjoy!




3.16.2010

Peering At The Faces Of Poverty

This is my maid Janifer ... and my driver Velan. In my haste, I forgot to add their photos. You should see them. Get to know them. Understand where your money is going. Despite how frustrated I may be sometimes, it doesn't change their financial situation. They still have virtually next to nothing.

However, on that note, I have some updates as to how the money collected will be spent. A few friends kindly reminded me that investing in their children's future may be better idea than solely spending money on material items. I couldn't agree more. I don't want to give them things that will only incur additional costs to run them, nor give them things that won't help them in their future. So with that said, a majority of the money will go towards the children education, and then to clothing, and mutually agreed upon necessities. If there are other ideas, I'm open to suggestions.

As I rushed yesterday, I also forgot to give you my 'fundraising' goals. By April 15, my aim is to have received $1000. Think this is possible? I sure do!





I've already received money via our PayPal account, and several other e-mails asking how to send money to us. Again, you're more than welcome send a check or money order via snail mail. E-mail me at mjperlman@me.com if you need our address.


OR, here's how you can donate via PayPal.


1. Go to www.paypal.com

2. If you already have a PayPal account, log in. If you don't, here's where you would create one.

3. Once you're logged in, go to the "SEND MONEY" tab. It will ask you for an e-mail address. Type in mjperlman@me.com.

4. Decide now how much money you're willing to donate. Then pick the reason you're sending money.

5. Click Continue. It will walk you through the rest of the steps. Mere seconds later, you're done.

Doesn't it feel good to give? Don't be shy, do it now!


I'll be sure to keep you all posted on our fundraising goals. Together we can make a difference.

3.15.2010

The Season Of Giving

As we begin our preparations to move on to our next assignment, we are faced with the daunting task of going through each and every thing we own and deciding what to do with it. Do we keep it? Do we throw it away? Do we sell it? Do we donate it?

And while I'm going through each and every item, I often look over in the next room to where my maid is working or outside to where my driver is sitting, and pangs of guilt come over me. These extra pads of paper, empty glass jars, chipped coffee mugs, extra mosquito bats, night lights, or old picture frames that I would likely either sell or donate means little to me, but to them, are the world.

Any one who has ever been to India knows that a majority of the population truly has nothing. 76% of the population lives under the international poverty line of $2 / day. That equates to about 800 million people... many of whom live in homes of just one room, where running water and electricity are often a luxury.

Back in December, my girlfriend in Kenya, came up with an idea I told her one day I would copy. She decided to help raise money for her housemaid, to give her and her family a Christmas to remember. When I read all about the Kenyans, I realized how similarly they live to the Indians. And it hit me... I could do the same thing to help out my housemaid and driver. Moreover, I need to do the same thing to help out my housemaid and driver.

You've seen the photos I've posted about life in India. Those photos were taken just outside my front gate, just down the street from my house, on the way to my daughters school. Everywhere you turn you see poverty staring you in the face. It's easy to turn a blind eye. But how can I? Every day I hear about it from both Janifer, my housemaid and Velan, my driver.

Janifer is married and has two sons, ages 9 and 12. They live in a two room house about an hour and a half away by bus. Velan is also married and has a 2 year old son. He lives in a one room house about 30 minutes away by motorcycle. By Indian standards, they make a decent wage by working for us; Janifer makes Rs 8000 / month ($175), and Velan makes Rs 8500 ($185). They've both recently moved and now have running water in their homes, though it's minimal and isn't available all day. The expenses for both of them are high; rent is about Rs 3000 each month, and the miscellaneous living expenditures leave them with little savings at the end of each month.

And this is where I turn to you... my family and friends ... and ask for your help. Have you ever wanted to reach out and help someone, but weren't sure where your money was going to go? Have you ever wondered how that money, the pocket change you've collected for the past month, was going to be spent? Let me tell you exactly where your money is going. I want to buy both Janifer and Velan...

* an air conditioning unit
* a small oven
* a washing machine
* an mini refrigerator
* a bed
* clothes for their children
* clothes for their families

I slip both Janifer and Velan additional money throughout the month. I overpay them when they work overtime. I give them bags of clothing, toys, kitchen supplies, extra items we have laying around that we know we don't need. And when we leave in June, I plan on giving them furniture and items that we don't plan on taking with us. But they could use more. They could increase their self worth by getting a good night sleep in a cool room on a soft mattress, or spending just a few hours washing clothes in a washing machine rather than all day by hand.

So I'm asking you and anyone you know for help. We're doing our part to help give them a better life. But with your month's worth of pocket change, of spare money laying around, your date night money, together we can give them a life they've only dreamed about.

If you would like to help make a difference, please e-mail me at mjperlman@me.com for our mailing address. Please don't send any cash, rather send a check or money order made out to me. Or, I even have a PayPal account that you can use ... just "send it" via our above e-mail! I'll make sure they get every cent you send! This does not have to be a significant amount, even a nominal donation will be truly appreciated.

This is the season of giving. Together we can make a difference. Together we can change their lives.

One last note... As mail takes 3 -4 weeks to get here, I'll ask that you send your check
no later than April 15 to ensure that it arrives here in enough time.

3.11.2010

I May Have A *Wee* Bit Of Road Rage

I like to drive. I prefer to drive. In fact, when I don't drive, I'm a self-confessed back seat driver. Which isn't exactly easy to be when you've been schlepped around everywhere you go, every ... single ... day ... for almost two years.

No matter where we're going, I find myself sighing loudly when Velan turns down a side road to take a short cut, or shaking my head and pursing my lips when a bus, a scooter, or a pedestrian pulls out right in front of us and we have to slam on our breaks. I've even been known to mumble a couple of obscenities not-so-under my breath. But Velan? He never seems phased by the other drivers and his reactions to the mayhem are calm and collected.

It's not exactly the same when I drive. I'm not quite as calm as Velan is, rather I have a bit of pent up road rage. I shake my fist whenever I'm cut off, when I'm stuck behind an animal in the road, or when a barely drivable bus nearly sideswipes my car. I've written in the past about driving here in Chennai. To sum it up in one word: it's chaos. But once you get the hang of it, it's easy. Sort of. If you don't mind grinding your teeth and sweating through your already pit-stained tank tops.

Following the rules of the road makes it easy. Which are... drift from lane to lane, honk your horn with the rest of them, pass each and every car you can, and anticipate the stupidity that someone WILL cut you off at least every 100 meters. If you can think like a local, you can drive like a local.

When my parents were here back in December, we couldn't fit everyone in the car along with my driver. So I told him that he had the time off, and I drove instead. My parents got a kick out of it and took a few video clips. If you can handle a little shaky shaky of his back-seat video, a bit of under-my-breath commentary, and sweet accolades from my folks about my abilities, take a look at me driving.

And don't miss the last video. It's not every day you see a dog riding a motorcycle.


video


video


video

3.10.2010

13ish Weeks...

... until we head out to Southern California. Where we'll stay with my in-laws until we solidify a place to live for the year.

... of which 6 of them will be spent sans hubby due to his training in DC for his onward assignment in Iraq. At least he'll be back to help with the pack-out... if there's anything left for him to do.

... for me to go through every single drawer, box, cabinet, and closet in the house and narrow down everything we want to donate, sell, take with us to California, or put into storage for the year. I still have 4 cases of good wine to drink too...

... to research ad nauseam what type of car we want to buy. SUV? Minivan? Medium size or gigantic? We're going the used route... and we're taking suggestions!

... to get the airplane reservations solidified. But don't forget we have the dog... who first needs to get her shots in order to fly WITH us or we pay the cargo fee vice the additional baggage fee. That's approx $1400 difference to you and me. Me no likey.

... to attempt to stay calm regarding the many frustrating security issues, bus issues, and general administrative issues at the school. While I love the education my girls are receiving, the lack of professional attitudes and general apathy is overwhelming and disconcerting. Trying to bite my tongue ... but I'm a squeaky wheel and it's very hard. Looking forward to really venting in 14 weeks. Oh yes I will.

... to hope and pray that the State Department gets our travel orders correct. It usually takes two or three revisions, though we're running on empty and have little time to spare. This is a fast PCS (Permanent Change of Station) with several moving parts. With 4 moves and a medevac under my belt, I KNOW that something is bound to go wrong.

... to travel around India as much as we can. We have a trip planned to a resort during the girls spring break, and another possibility of a quick jaunt up north if our friends are able to come for a visit.

... to take a deep breath and try to enjoy having so much household help. Once we get to California there will be nobody there to pick up the house, mop the dirt into the floor, half-a** clean the toilets, or babysit the kidlets. It's all me baby... and that's the way I like it... uh huh uh huh!

... is quickly approaching. I know that I'm going to blink my eyes, the school year will end and we'll be on a plane heading to the States. So much to do. So very little time.

3.04.2010

I Am Humbled

Over the past two days I have received a couple hundred e-mails via my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and directly to me in response to our big announcement. I am overwhelmed with the amount of encouraging e-mails, sweet notes, and well wishes. I am amazed with every one's concern. Words can't begin to describe our appreciation for the support.

Of course, I received all of them on my iPhone as our internet has actually been down since Tuesday. Not exactly the best time for the modem to cr*p out... though not surprising one bit. Go figure! Lucky for me, I had the first blog post written last week, so all I had to do once we received the official word, was to get onto my blog and send it out. But e-mailing and web surfing on the iPhone? It must be done sparingly as even MY thumbs are too big to type on that little screen.

As I attempt to respond to everyone who took the time to e-mail me now that my e-mail is FINALLY back up again, please forgive me if it takes a few days. I'm emotionally drained ... but still seeing the light.

3.03.2010

"Congratulations ... You're Going To Baghdad!"

... is the e-mail that welcomed us early Tuesday morning. It was the e-mail we were anxiously awaiting to receive, yet after several months it was very bittersweet. Moreover, to have the words... "congratulations" and "Baghdad" used in the same sentence seemed an oxymoron, rather it should have read, "Congratulations ... you're getting out of Chennai", to be more apropos.

I never imagined myself ever looking forward to being separated from my husband. To wishing, no scratch that, accepting an unaccompanied tour. Not to sound like Tony Robbins here, but life IS all about timing and seizing the opportunity when it presents itself.

These past two years have been rough for us. Although we left Israel for Chennai full of excitement, with the brightest outlook, and ready for adventure, arriving with a lost bag and settling into a house we didn't like set the tone for our three year tour. Sure, we've had some amazing experiences and traveled to places we'd never get to while living in the States, but it isn't enough. Add in our daily calamities, the girls frustrations, and you start to realize that maybe it's time to take one for the team, and quietly exit stage left. To be brutally honest, I just got tired of waking up and wishing every day away. I was becoming depressed. And living here felt more like we were serving a prison sentence.

Living overseas for the past seven years at three different posts has given us a little perspective. We've lived in a 1st world country (Israel), a 2nd world country (Oman), and finally this 3rd world country. We've come to accept certain limitations and inconveniences. Nevertheless, the day to day obstacles and frustrations we've felt here in southern India have truly brought us to the breaking point.

Like New York City, there are those who love India and those who... well... don't, (with very few people falling in between the two extremes.) One generally isn't ambivalent. When you see our lifestyle via our blog through our photos and experiences, you'd think this place would be a virtual Shangri-la. But it's more than that. Once you begin scratching the well patina'd surface, you'll uncover the stark reality; it's a tough place to live and raise a family.

It was a joint decision to curtail. A tough decision. One that was not made without hours, days, weeks, and months of discussion. Endless deliberation. Heated consideration. In the beginning, the middle, and more importantly the end, it was a decision made in the best interest of our family.

I don't want to even remotely kid anyone, especially myself. I am well aware that Matt leaving for one year will not be easy on anyone... on him, definitely not on me, and certainly not the kids. However, his time in Iraq will be well spent. He will have the opportunities to get out from behind his desk and re-enter the fray; the exciting stuff that attracted him to this job in the first place. Me? Well, I get Starbucks, Trader Joe's, a little religion, a lot of convenience. And the kids have the fantastic opportunity to be near family and friends.

We get the best of everything we all want and need. We just sadly don't get to do it together. For one year. For one exciting year. For one LONG year.

But we're lucky. We have a strong marriage. We are closer than we've ever been. We know we can do this and be okay. And there's always Skype... thank goodness for Skype.

So we now have a lot more stresses to add to the ever growing pile. A move coming up in mid-June, just after school ends. Matt's possible extended 6-week TDY in DC for training. Selling off all of our "weighty" personal belongings and shelves of consumables. And the last few getaways to experience Incredible India.

Feel free now to ask your questions... shoot me an e-mail, write me on Facebook, tweet me on Twitter, or leave me a comment. I'm going to be relying on all of you for moral support to help me through the highs and lows of being a "single" mom to three kids and a dog as we make our way through one more nomadic year in Southern California. If you have any great leads on renting a place, if you love your car and think it could be a good fit for us, or if you just want to tell me how excited you are to have us living near you, I'm all ears.

But be kind... I'm on a high and I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...

3.02.2010

Another Turning Point, A Fork Stuck In The Road

One of the positive aspects of being a diplomat is the transient lifestyle, and the notion that if you're dissatisfied with your current situation, it is only temporary. This is an ideal lifestyle for those with short attention spans. Nevertheless, this nomad existence does not come without a cost. In our world, even the best laid plans can change at the drop of a hat, or more accurately from a single e-mail or telephone call. I can't tell you how many vacations have been missed, flights changed, and events put on hold. The only consistency is the inconsistency.

Case in point... For many months we have planned on taking the kids to Hong Kong Disney as part of our 'around the world' summer vacation. However, we found out today that we won't be taking an R&R this summer.

Instead, we're taking more than our allotted two-bags-each, and in mid-June will be going on Home Leave. Which means ...


We're moving to California. At least for the time being.


I'm sure you've noted from the tone of many of my previous postings that we have found India to be a frustrating and difficult place to live. So when an opportunity presented itself to curtail the final year of our tour, we jumped. High.

However, our onward assignment does not come without its own set of set of detriments. I should probably mention that our entire family is not going to be living in California ... it will just be me and the kids.

Matt and I have decided to go our separate ways.


For one year.


This July, Matt will be heading to Iraq on an unaccompanied tour.


** Insert hands on side of head with loud scream and several oye vey's here **



But don't fret just yet. I am 100% in agreement, in favor, completely delighted with our decision. I finally feel like I'm recapturing my mojo. Tomorrow I'll tell you why...

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