5.31.2010

The Calm Before The Storm

The movers come tomorrow. And surprising as it is for me to say, I'm actually ready for them. Oops, did I just jinx myself? I mean, I've spent weeks, if not months preparing for this week. I've had two yard sales. I've advertised furniture, consumables, knick knacks, kitchen ware, exercise equipment, and everything else you can think of ... and thankfully sold 95% of what we wanted to get rid of. I've made lists. I've scoured closets. I've donated... a lot!

We spent the entire weekend organizing the rooms into four separate piles. One pile of HHE (household effects) to California, one pile of UAB (unaccompanied air baggage) to California, one pile of UAB to Iraq, and the rest to storage. The most time consuming part was deciding what we can't live without in California, and what really should be sent to storage. Oh and don't forget the 14 loads of laundry ... washing every single solitary thing that needs to get packed up... the shower curtains, towels, sheets, duvet covers, clothes...

They should arrive at 9 am tomorrow to begin their first of three days here starting on the ground floor. Wednesday they'll work on the second floor. Thursday they'll move it all into the crates and send it on its merry way.

Until then think only good thoughts ... for we MUST be under our 7200 pound weight limit. Fingers crossed.








5.30.2010

Proof That The Credit Card HAS Melted

A few weeks ago I finally made it down to Pondicherry to check out a furniture store that I had always wanted to see. Leave it to me to get down there less than a month before our departure. Good thing though because each piece was more fantastic than the next... that is, if you like antiques. Which, when they look like this, I really do! And if given too much more time, I probably would have purchased many more things than I did, and then been WAY overweight in our shipment.

I went shopping for furniture for our non-existent dining room... and came home with these two darling pieces. On the left is a rosewood curio with teak shelves. On the right is a jackwood console table that was originally a much lighter colored wood. I had it stained darker to match the rosewood curio ... though due to the light in these photos you can't tell that the pieces are actually the exact same color. The curio looks much lighter due to the flash on my camera and where it's situated near the window.



And here are the photos of the marriage boxes I got the girls. Aren't they fabulous? A keepsake for them forever. Each box has these teeny tiny little compartments to squirrel away all their treasures. Perfect for little fingers now. Memories for them to last a lifetime.


5.27.2010

Sell High, Buy Low...

Sounds more like a stock tip rather than the goal for the school yard sale today ... which was to sell as much of our stuff as we possibly could at the yard sale, and to come home with virtually as little as possible. But there was only one problem...

I saw a BOB. I saw THE BOB I've had my eye on for several years. The BOB was virtually new. The BOB NEEDED to be mine.

Of course, today was the day I was going to considerably lighten our load .... to detach ourselves from every last bit of baby equipment, outdated household items, and consumables for which I WAY overbought. The goal of the day was to sell high and not buy, and certainly not spend 1/2 of the money I made at the yard sale on a stroller. Even if it was THE stroller that I've always wanted. Priorities people.

But as the day went on, the BOB just sat there. Staring at me. Calling my name. It quietly whispered, "buy me." It caught me peeking at it every chance I got. Everyone walked by it. Nobody gave it a second glance. But I did. I was watching it the entire day. I pushed it around. I inspected it all over. I felt its wheels, its sunshade, its beautiful body.

I think it was fate calling out to me. Or maybe it was just me whispering loudly so that I could literally hear myself think, "just buy the d*mn thing already." So I called Matt and told him what I found. Before I could even ask his opinion he mumbled one word. "Bargain."

Which in one swift text message to its owner I did.

Less than twenty minutes later I received word that they accepted my much lower offer. For a MUST have stroller to use when living at the beach for a year. Again, priorities people.

So in all it was a GREAT day. I sold 85% of the stuff I brought to the yard sale. I made almost $400. I spent about half of that on my new stroller (great price, huh?). And I left the school with about 300 pounds less than what I brought with me. Sure, I didn't come home with as fun a story as at the last yard sale.... but that's OK. I have something better. I have a BOB.




My table at the yard sale. My new stroller. What I brought back home.

5.26.2010

Why No... Pink Eye and a Trip to the Doctor Were NOT On My To-Do List Today ...

... though how quickly they made it onto the list when I came back from the school and saw that the little guy's left eye was not only crusty and gooey, but red and swollen on both the top and bottom lid too. Thankfully the RMO (Regional Medical Officer) was in town, and after a quick trip to the Consulate, along with a full examination, it was determined that Conjunctivitis was our diagnosis. Oh. The. Joys.

Of course, we now had to add more things to my ever growing To-Do list that weren't originally on it. Like finding the medication to fix said Conjunctivitis... which is either drops four times a day for 7 days OR ointment twice a day for five days. Which one would you choose? Hey, me too! But guess what?? They don't HAVE that medication here. I know this after going to four different pharmacies. So a quick phone call back to the doctor to let him know that we couldn't find the medication, and we now have a replacement prescription... which doesn't really matter because it's not like I need the physical prescription to get the medication anyway. Are you still following? So, we got lucky the fifth time around and picked up not one, but two tubes of the ointment. Why you ask? Because it's probably only a number of days before someone else here gets pink eye, and I need to be prepared.


It never ceases to amaze me that as our departure becomes much closer, my To-Do list continues to grow. Here's what's been keeping us (who am I kidding) me busy for the past several weeks:


Pre- Packout Survey Completed ... ✔

Pack-out scheduled for next Tuesday - Thursday ... ✔

Airline tickets booked ... ✔

Dog booked on flight, and several arguments had with Lufthansa and United about why they won't let me pay for the ticket until the day we fly out ... ✔

Trip to the vet to get the USDA health certificate, only to get there and discover that if I was going to have 4 x the number of tests done for her clearance did I need to be there thirty days in advance. Rescheduled dog's USDA health certificate appointment for 8 days prior to flying ... ✔

Rented cheapest, yet biggest car possible for the first week in Newport Beach ... ✔

Teeth cleaning appointments made for everyone for next week ... ✔

Fifth appointment scheduled at the dentist to begin the work on my crown ... or so we hope ... ✔

Two School Board meetings this month down, two School Board meetings to go, Head of School interviews completed and Head of School selected and TBA soon ... ✔

Shopped for every possible trinket, fabric, bangle, and cloth until the credit card melted ... ✔

Increased our renters insurance and confirmed transit insurance for stuff going to LA, Baghdad, and storage ... ✔

Haircut appointment made at salon in LA on third day back ... ✔

Secured rental house for the school year ... ✔

Narrowed down car selection for purchase on our first (maybe second) day back ... ✔

Talked with buyer for car at least five times, who surprisingly STILL wants to buy it despite it's non-working condition ... ✔

Finished making fourteen hats for the kindergarten class graduation next week ... ✔

Booked the taxi / van to pick us up at the airport in Los Angeles, and secured in the reservation that we're making a pit stop at In N Out ... ✔

Transferred everything to the school for the final yard sale tomorrow (where whatever we don't sell we'll be leaving there) ... ✔


WHEW ... SO much done .... yet there's still plenty To-Do on the list:


Schedule OB/GYN appointment with doctor who delivered Gray

Secure PO Box so we can change our address

Schedule all three kids well check ups at the Pediatrician in Newport Beach

Start Gray's 1 year immunizations

Buy teachers end of year gifts

Sort, pack, launder, and organize stuff for move next week

Fill out loan paperwork so we have everything ready to purchase car upon arrival

Pay and cancel all phone bills, internet, and cable bills

And last (for now), but definitely not least ... Purchase the de-worming medication for all of us ... yes ALL of us ... 3 days prior to departure


Let's just hope we leave the worms behind ... It may seem like a lot, but it'll be done by the end of the week. A little agita, a lot of stress, but we're nearly there.

Sixteen days until departure.

5.24.2010

Laughing At The Elements...

I'm a big fan of The Onion, a satirical newspaper that prints some of the most hilarious articles and videos known to man. So when I opened up my Google Reader this morning and saw this, I knew I had to post one of my favorites as well... though admittedly I'm not sure where it originated...

After working with the Federal Government for thirteen years now, I know that sometimes you have to laugh not just with them, but at them...


Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of morons promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

5.23.2010

And All Is Now Right In our World...

Around 1 am this morning, a very tired and weary traveler made his way back home to Chennai. He was exhausted from the two flights totaling around 19 hours flying time... or 24 hours if you include the early arrival time to the airport and layover in Frankfurt. With a brief night's sleep he was happily awoken by his kidlets at the earliest possible crack of dawn... also known as 5:45 am... (though I did send them back to bed until 7 am and caved at 6:35 am when they just refused to stay in their beds as excitement of seeing daddy completely took over and negated sleep).

I don't know how he did it, but sweet daddy-o made it through the entire day without so much as a break or a nap ... well, he did manage to fall asleep for a brief minute or three on the side of the pool this afternoon, but we won't really count that one, m'kay? Nor will we hassle him that I was the one stuck changing the blow out diaper AND the dog vomit that both happened the only two times he was in a different room than us today. Figures. Bygones.

Here's a few shots of Matt being accosted by the kiddies before bed. Can you tell they missed him?

Nineteen days.



5.20.2010

The Whiny Post Where I Complain JUST Because I Can ...

In about 48 hours Matthew's plane will land back here in hot and steamy Chennai, thus relieving me from my single mom, and pre-pack out alone duties. I can honestly say that these past five weeks have flown by. Though as of today, for the first time since he left, I've pretty much reached my limit... I. Am. Done.

My car is still in the shop. The Toyota dealership towed my car to their shop almost three weeks ago, and it took them until last Friday to figure out what was wrong. Apparently they 'say' I need a new ECM / ECU. Maybe even another fuel pump. But that's not all. They call me every other day changing their story; They have the part. They don't have the part. It's going to cost Rs 50,000 (about $1100), it's going to cost less. They have to order the part from Japan. They need to search for it from Sri Lanka. It will take 15 days. Now it will take 25. It's going to cost Rs. 100000. Nobody makes the part anymore. So which one is it? I. Don't. Know. And I just can't deal with the apathetic attitude of the maintenance department and management of Lanson Toyota anymore. So I wait. Until Matthew returns. Because I'm putting him on the case. Maybe they'll listen to him. Or maybe they'll just nod their heads. I'm going with the latter.

These past two weeks have been quite busy with School Board responsibilities. We are in the final stretches of hiring a new Head of School (aka Superintendent) to begin in the 2011 school year. The search committee has diligently worked since December to recruit the best candidates, and last month the Board read through all of the resumes and selected three finalists to each fly out and spend 2 full days at our school. Thankfully, I was not on the committee, but I have gone to dinner with all three finalists we flew in, and been involved in two sections of the interview process. It's been a fantastic experience meeting with these three candidates, and hearing the directions that they would potentially take our school. Now we just have Saturday to deliberate over all of the information collected and make our decision. I'm sure that will be a LONG day!

On top of the car cr*p, the School Board stuff, and the internet outages that have me throwing my fists in the air, I've also been dealing with a now 1-year old who has turned from a sweet docile little munchkin, to an almost-toddler who arches his back and does 'the noodle', who only wants to be held when HE wants to be held, who wants to crawl around all day, and who loves to get into his sisters' stuff more than anything in the world, and who cut 2 more teeth this week. What is it with the 1-year mark that completely changes their innocent behavior? I completely forgot about this annoying stage. Oh he's now a busy boy. A busy, busy boy!

I went to the dentist on Monday to decide if we could take the next steps to fit my crown. After examining my tooth again, the dentist thinks that I still need to give it additional time to heal and see if the pain is truly gone. If it isn't by next week they need to perform the 2nd root canal. So far, we've postponed the crown for the 4th time while we wait and see. My next appointment is scheduled on Memorial Day. Who knows what we'll do then....

Cyclone Laila made her way through Chennai on Tuesday and Wednesday, providing a reprieve from the heat and enough rain to warrant borrowing Noah's Ark. Of course, with the cyclone also came incessant power outages, internet outages, and maintenance issues, and I'm still dealing with a tad of the aftermath.

So forgive me if there's a delay in returning e-mails. If I don't sound as chipper or even as humorously sarcastic as usual. I'm a little down in the mouth. And I'm starting to get into pack-out mode.

Ten days until the movers come. Twenty-one days until wheels up. It's happening folks...

5.17.2010

Who Is This Man In My Dining Room?

Why, that is none other than the local Phlebotomist, who comes to my house every two or so months to take my blood. Convenient? Absolutely! It's one of the few services I will truly miss when we move back to the States.

In all three countries we've lived in overseas, I've always been able to walk into any laboratory and have any kind of blood test done without a prescription. No. Questions. Asked. All I had to do was tell the receptionist what I needed, pay my minimal fees, and within minutes my arm was wrapped in a tourniquet and my vein poked, prodded, and bandaged.

But the best part? I am also able to go back within hours and get the results myself. No waiting several days for them to be processed. No having to call the doctors office or wait for a nurse to call me back. Nobody telling me that I'd have to make an appointment to come see a doctor and have him explain the result to me. Why bother? I have a college education and the ability to access WebMD on the internet, do I really need someone to decipher the information?

Ever since finding out I have Thyroid Disease three years ago, I'm hyper vigilant about ensuring my Thyroid is tested every few months. Since I was on so many medications before and during my pregnancy with Grady, along with my weight fluctuating for the year afterwards, my Thyroid has been consistently out of whack. In fact, I almost don't need a blood test anymore to tell me if my Thyroid is regulated... if my face breaks out or I have more "hair fall" than normal, I know that I need another blood test.

On Saturday I decided I needed to get my Thyroid tested one more time before we go back to the States, so I can bring my results in to an endocrinologist in Orange County and continue to be monitored. I called the laboratory and with nothing more than providing my name and phone number, I scheduled my appointment for this 8 am this morning.

Sure enough at 8 am sharp, Shyam rode up to my house on his motorcycle, carried in his trusted black bag, and set up shop on my dining room table. In less than 5 minutes he got everything ready, took my blood, waited for an extra minute to see if there were any other blood tests I wanted done while he was jabbing me with the needle, collected the fees and was on his way. It was seamless. And cheap. Only Rs 470 for the test (about $10.50), and Rs. 110 for the home draw charge (about $2.50). And the piece de resistance ... I downloaded the results online when they were ready. Boo-Yah!

Oh yeah, I didn't have to change out of my pajamas either.






Yes, I did snap these photos with my left hand while I was giving blood.

5.15.2010

California Dreaming

We celebrated Gray's first birthday today, complete with overly frosted cake, multi colored cupcakes, cookies, and a cranky baby. Our friend's Linda and Graham were throwing a "Welcome to Chennai" pool party for a new family, and ever so graciously allowed us to celebrate the little guy's birthday as well. Linda even went above and beyond buying Happy Birthday signs and party hats!

I baked a cake for the event, made way too many cupcakes, brought some chocolate chip cookies (bummer if you didn't eat them, they were delish), and even frosted an individual cake for the munchkin.

But none of it really mattered as Gray REFUSED to take an afternoon nap, and was BEYOND tired for the party. He cried for a solid hour, clearly wanting to go to sleep, while I insisted on making him eat cake... all for a good photo. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.

Thanks to all who joined in the festivities ... who e-mailed, called, and commented on the blog and Facebook. You helped make his 1st birthday a day to remember...










5.14.2010

Dear Grady,

You have my eyes. That's the only physical feature that you got from me. Your laid back demeanor... yeah, totally not mine. You got that from your dad. As well as your looks. Seriously, the apple didn't even branch from the tree... you're a spitting image of him. Thank goodness I find him gorgeous, just like you.

I can't believe that a year has passed by as quickly as it has. It seems like it was last week that I found out I was pregnant... and then yesterday when I went back to California to finish cooking you before delivery. You came a tad early, by my choice, as I was seriously done with being pregnant. Your easy delivery has been the guideline for your life.

We've done more traveling with you in your first year of life than many people do in a lifetime; from two trips to the Taj Mahal, to Jaipur and Delhi, to Bangkok, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Coorg. Your yielding nature has made the chaos just that much easier.

You love playing with your sisters and light up the minute they walk into the room. You clap, bounce, wave, and squeal with delight every chance you get. You have a few words in your repertoire; momma, dadda, bye-bye, Bubbie, baby, more. You have 9 teeth, including a molar, which shocked us all when it came in. And you want to skip walking all together and go straight to running... which you attempt to do when we try to get you to take a few steps. Slow down little guy, the bruises on your forehead are starting to swell and will eventually turn blue.

This past year has flown by, and it amazes me that we're already celebrating your first birthday. A day that several years ago I thought I may never see. But here we all are, bursting with joy and love. For having you in our lives truly completes our family.










5.13.2010

Do You Hear That?

It's me breathing my very first sigh of relief in this move back to the States ... and I'm not sure what to do with all of this extra oxygen.

I found a place to live today. More specifically, I e-mailed the owner of the house I'm going to live in, and agreed to the terms of the lease today. I'm beyond excited.

Do you see that? It' s my little happy dance.

Finding a place to live has not been as easy as I'd expected it to be. I have been looking for several weeks for a rental home in the Southern California area. Somewhere near family, definitely near the Synagogue we're joining, and with the attempt to do as little schlepping as possible. It had to be a three bedroom. It had to have parking directly attached to the place. It had to take the dog.

I originally planned to wait until I got to California before I started researching houses. I knew that I could stay with my in laws and my parents for a bit of time. I really didn't want the added expense of a 12-month lease of starting in either July or August, knowing that we'd more than likely be moving to D.C. next June... thus needing to break our lease, or pay double rent for a few months. The more I thought about it, I began to realize that by waiting until I got there, I'd be doing the same thing I do every summer... I'd be stuck shopping. Though instead of for clothes, toiletries, or consumables, I'd be shopping for houses. And I just didn't need the stress.

I contacted several real estate agents who dealt with rental properties. Most of the e-mailed me properties were all wrong for one reason or another ... too few bedrooms, second floor units, no yard, or no dedicated parking spaces. I was about to give up when I noticed an advertisement on Craigslist for a 9-month winter rental. Hmmm... I hadn't thought about that before. A rental just for the school year that's fully furnished. Hmmm... what a novel idea. So I started looking into them. Most of these rental properties are located in the Newport Beach area. A tad further away than I had planned on living from the Synagogue. But doable. And furnished. Double doable.

I e-mailed the owner's of a few properties. I had hope for a few different places. None of them seemed 'just' right. Some were too close to the pier. Others were sandwiched between places rented out solely to college kids. The rest were missing one of the key ingredients I needed to make our next year's place a home.

Until a few days ago. When my in laws met up with a neighbor in the dog park around the corner from their house. The neighbor knew of a property that would be available in the winter. Furnished. Three bedroom. Two bath. Two car garage. Ready for a family to move in in September. No problem to bring the dog. She mentioned that I should get in touch with her if I was interested. I was. Over the next few days we exchanged several e-mails and then talked on the phone. The place sounded perfect ... if she was willing to significantly reduce the price.

Long story short. The woman e-mailed me today offering up the house for the winter. From September - June. She lowered her price to fit within our budget... and even threw in cable and internet. It's an adorable little house on one of Matt's favorite streets on the Newport Beach Peninsula. A little Everybody Loves Raymond close to his parents. The ad describes it as a "Charming Cottage", which is a euphemism for the "ohmygawdthisissosmall" bungalow two blocks from the beach. A lot farther than I had planned on living to the Synagogue, though as my cousin/aunt aptly reminded me, everybody schleps in Los Angeles. But it's perfect for us. Large enough that we won't get claustrophobic. Small enough that I can keep it clean, as you can bet your bottom dollar that I won't have any help once I get to California, thank you very much!

It's one less thing that I need to worry about now. And I'm one step closer to mentally organizing our shipments. For a few brief moments I can carefully exhale... though I know it's going to be short lived.

Wheels up in just twenty eight days and counting ...

5.09.2010

Happy Mother's Day to All ... And to All A Good Night.

Well I'm not earning any Mother's Day Awards ... but I sure am earning a big ole break when Matthew returns home in a few weeks. Yes sirreeee, you will have bath duty, time out duty, bed making duty, laundry duty, and sole poopy diaper duty,for the next 8 weeks, so bring the nose plugs back with you because transitioning to milk kinda stinks!

Nothing like changing sheets at 2 am for a pee pee accident, consoling a munchkin at o'dark thirty over a broken alarm clock that was inadvertently knocked off the night stand, or dealing with a dog who rolls around in cr*p mere minutes before you want to go to sleep, to realize this alone thing really is a full time job! Though I will say that aside from ... dealing with the incessant issues with the car, having two dental appointments this week for my botched root canal, preparing for our pack-out in 3 weeks, School Board commitments, not having a driver for part of this week, late night calls with So. Cal rental agents while struggling with renting a place for the year... we ARE managing quite well ... even if there have been a few tears and fits.

We took a tuk tuk to a lovely Mother's Day brunch today. We have a rental car, but it was far easier to hire 'my guy' to pick us up and take us where we wanted to go. The girls loved it.... despite Sheridan's balloon popping the second we got in the tuk tuk to go home. Note to self... you know you hate balloons. Next time, leave them in the restaurant!





And Sheridan had a little Mother's Day performance on Friday. I always laugh when I stand back and look at the parents from the kids perspective. Holy performance anxiety batman!





As you can see, the kids drew pictures of how they view their mothers. Clearly Sheridan's telling me that I need to lose a little more weight, reduce the tarantula eyes, and lay off the blush.
Oh yeah, and I obviously need a new hairdo.

My goal for the future ... to one day have 5 fingers ... and feet.
And arms too, though I know that's pushing it.




Happy Mother's Day to all. May the force be with you!

5.05.2010

Being In The Top 2% is NOT Always What It's Cracked Up To Be...

... especially when it's the top 2% of people who have to have another root canal. On the SAME '*$#%@%^#*!!!!!' tooth.


Stick a fork in me, because ... I... am... done.

5.03.2010

Rules For Rules Sake...

... drive me crazy. Absolutely CRAZY! So you can only imagine with just 5 ish weeks left how "Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs" I'm going with the Indian bureaucracy. I have never been in any place that had so many rules. Rules that are ... arcane ... outdated ... flat out ridiculous. So many backwards ways of doing things. So many people afraid to think outside of the box.

I have a healthy respect for guidelines. For the understanding that life is not black and white, but rather many different shades of gray. Over the years I have come to expect rules that I don't understand or respect to be explained. And when they're not, I challenge them. Every. Single. Time.

Selling my car has been an extremely frustrating experience. I advertised it about six weeks ago and actually sold it quite quickly (probably due to it's very low sales price). But the process by which I have to follow in order to transfer the car is bureaucracy at its finest.

Here's how I see it. I have a car. I want to sell it, so I advertise. A potential buyer calls me and expresses interest in the car. We meet. He sees it. He tells me he wants it. Then in a normal world, he gives me the money, I sign over the car to him, and it gets registered in his name. We all live happily ever after.

That's not how it works here. See, once we get to the point where the buyer wants to purchase the car, I am at the mercy of the Ministry to hopefully get everything cleared and approved prior to our departure. A process that takes anywhere from 3 - 4 months. A step-by-step system that must be thought out well in advance. Think it'll happen? Along with the five identical sets of paperwork that Matt had to sign in order to sell our car, they then need to be sent to Chennai, Delhi, and probably Timbuktu too in order for someone, somewhere, to make a decision as to whether or not the buyer is good enough to buy my 4000 pound hunk of junk.

Forgive me for thinking he was good enough because he was able to "Show Me The Money".

And if this paperwork doesn't come through before we leave ... well ... then we're stuck signing over a Power of Attorney to some other poor schmo at the Consulate to handle in our absence. Um, who do you think is standing in line, waiting to sign up for that gig?

As frustrated as I am, I'm still playing by the stupid rules (shhh.... don't tell my girls I just said the "S" word). Aside from my irreverence for the system, and the reasons for the way they do things, I'm stuck. I can't roll back time and purchase another car ... one that was only half as much of a lemon as this one. As much as I'd like to. I can just point out the obvious... that despite always doing things a certain way or because it's just the way things are done, doesn't make them right.

But it does make me a diplomat ... at a time when I really want to be undiplomatic.

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