Monday, May 13, 2013

In the Lap of Luxury

NOTE: This was originally published as part of a blog for a class in October 2012; thought you all might like a little taste of a typical Swanson Family Vacation. Enjoy!

"Sorry for the bad vacation genes." - My mom, often

We call it The Swanson Family Curse - a widely known and oft joked about curse that has plagued every vacation we have ever attempted; dating from the early 70s, it has followed each of us girls on into our adult lives, never far from anyone's mind. Nevertheless, some of my fondest memories come from our obligatory family trip every summer, always via car, van, or rented RV because, you know, my parents were afraid of flying. Two adults, four daughters and one Astro van: what's not to love? In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that my two eldest sisters were out of the house and no longer vacationing with us by the time I was six. Lucky, lucky, those two.

There was nothing that the Swansons couldn't conquer in a larger-than-anticipated motorhome that terrified our conservative, drive-it-like-you're-85 father. Seriously, the one we got the summer of 1995 was enormous, an error in the reservation process from the rental company, apparently. The first three hours of the trip from western Wisconsin to Yellowstone National Park consisted of my older sister and I tucked up in the overhead bunk area, giggling and spying on our parents, below. The tension radiating from Dad was thick enough to feed all of us for dinner, though I think that's what they were going for.

More than once we heard our mom quietly suggest that it might be time to stop and "feed the girls" to which dad eventually snapped back "I can't park this thing in anything smaller than an airplane hangar; they can eat tomorrow morning." By the third day of driving, Dad had learned to navigate the rig as best as he'd be able for the remainder of the trip, which is to say, stressfully and at painfully slow speeds.

*This may not be my family, but it sure as hell could have been.

It seemed to take at least six months but we finally finished the long, flat trip through one of the Dakotas - does it matter which one? Because really, it'd be a crying shame to miss a single landmark in the desolate, flat, treeless vista that is The Dakotas, right? We barreled on into Montana with Yellowstone in our sights and relative peace in the confines of our little (enormous) home-away-from-home-on-wheels, though once we hit the park our trip headed steadily downhill. And fast.

*Something my parents totally would have done. By accident. Awesome.

A bear broke into our RV one evening while we were at a restaurant eating dinner, helped himself to the contents of the "kitchen" cabinets then shat on the rug before heading down the lane to the next campsite. We missed Old Faithful not once, but three mother loving times before we finally pinned her down; lemme tell you something, the name is as ironic as it gets. I spent almost every minute of the trip with motion sickness rivaling the aftermath of a 24-hour ride on a Tilt-a-Whirl because of the mountain switch-backs that are fricking everywhere in um, well, The Mountains.

The trip back to Wisconsin was fraught with near-constant bickering between my sister and I; I was bored, carsick and did I mention bored? She was in college, home with us for the summer and missing the daylights out of her boyfriend, Dan - but you can call him Tree. Because that was his nickname. Whatever. Because the fighting was enough to make our parents a little stabby, we took an extra-long stay-over in Cody, WY.

*This isn't us. Why, you ask? Because they're smiling, that's why.

While there we ate at a great restaurant, took in a rodeo and our toilet overflowed. Continuously. All the way back to Wisconsin. The last night of our trip was spent at a campground a mere 20 miles from the RV rental company because we arrived back in the area after they'd already closed for the day. We took turns using an empty Cool Whip container to scoop out the oozing toilet water while my dad spent the entire evening underneath our temporary home, doing his damndest to fix the issue before we had to return it with blue sewer water sloshing out all over the carpet, waving goodbye to our damage deposit. At 11:45 pm he came tearing into the RV - bleeding profusely from the head - started the engine and raced around to the dumping station, whooping and shouting with joy all the way. We were terrified.

Turns out, there was a secondary sewer valve that led to a holding tank and somebody had switched it to the "closed" position. The kinds folks at RV-Trainers-R-Us failed to point out the valve to my dad, thus the overflow and loss of our sweet on-board toilet for fully half of our trip. I'm not sure who was more relieved to be done with this lovely memory-making family vacation - the adults or the bored, unimpressed offspring. Though it may have been a typically disastrous Swanson family vaca, at least we have hilarious stories to carry with us, right? Right?!

*All photo credits to

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Writing Process: It's Not an Exact Science

I'm under a ton of pressure right now with heaps of small deadlines creeping towards me and stressing me out. But being the go-getter that I am, deadlines are no match for my mad multi-tasking skills. Here's an example of my typical writing process and how it unfolded today:
  • Settle in with coffee and Shredded Wheat immediately in a.m. and bang out one project with ease.
  • Congratulate self and take a break to watch Hoda & Kathie Lee on mute while cruising Facebook.
  • Take a 45 minute shower without shaving so much as one underarm.
  • Plan rest of workday while in shower.
  • Practice putting hair into chic bun; end up looking a lot like O'Brien by the time bangs are dry.
  • Pull out contents of veggie crisper (do people actually call it a crisper? 'cause at my house it's just a drawer) and neatly chop, slice, and dice everything so healthy snacks are at the ready.
  • Eat an entire pound of roasted asparagus and a bowl full of cabbage for lunch.
  • Regret lunch fare immediately.
  • Lunch was too healthy; open a new jar of Nutella and go to town.
  • Braid nearly dry hair; mess with it for another 20 minutes.
  • Lovingly shine the leaves of plant in bedroom.
  • Make list of work to be accomplished by 4 p.m. today.
  • Tweeze errant upper-lip hair missed by waxer from hair appt two weeks ago.
  • Go to the bathroom; curse asparagus.
  • Do the dishes.
  • Re-organize pile of important paperwork.
  • Hang kids' artwork on doors in dining room.
  • Marvel at creativity of my children.
  • Re-start dryer; continue ignoring baskets of ready-to-be-folded clean clothes.
  • Look out the windows, ponder outside temperature and consider checking mail - no dice.
  • Wonder about cable guy who has been at neighbor's house three times today. Make that four times.
  • Turn on Ellen. (did you know they're making a sequel to Finding Nemo?)
  • Un-braid hair. Marvel at how long hair is getting.
  • Realize it's 4:20 and the kids need to be picked up.
  • Remember how much I hate John Mayer.
  • Accomplish exactly zero items from to-do list.
  • Day: shot. Will try harder tomorrow. Probably.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Aydan's Army

Hey all, I'm coming to you this morning with a request for your support for a sweet little man. Aydan is fighting hard in his third battle with cancer and he needs our help. Here's the plan: we're asking that everyone who reads this send a Lego piece to Aydan to show how all of our thoughts, prayers and support can come together to make something huge for this very special little boy. Below is the information posted by his family on his Facebook page; at the end you'll find a mailing address for the Lego pieces.

Aydan Nyberg is an amazing little boy. His bright smile is contagious. His spirit is inspiring. Above all, his courage through his battles has been incredible. In the words of Aydan, "it's worth it." At the young age of eight, he has been faced with cancer three times. He is a true superhero against cancer.

At the age of three, Aydan fought and won over a rare, childhood cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. He was in remission for three years. At the age of seven, he was diagnosed with a new cancer, AML Leukemia. With intense chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant with his younger sister, Mikaela Rose, he fought his second battle. At the age of eight, Aydan has received the devastating news that his Leukemia has relapsed. He will be entered into a medical trial program for another high-risk bone marrow transplant at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Tennessee.

Even though Aydan is a superhero against cancer, he needs your support more than ever to help him and his family through the next part of his battle...his journey to St. Jude's. They will need to relocate to Tennessee for six months, with additional monthly follow-up visits, as part of this medical trial. The proceeds raised from the efforts of Aydan's Army will help cover medical expenses, not paid for by insurance and uncovered travel expenses, as well as, loss of income and other expenses for Aydan's care.

Aydan's Army is proud to have you as a part of the team. Most of all, Aydan is thankful for your support. Aydan is a resident of Cumberland, RI.

Aydan's Army
PO BOX 542,
North Attleboro, MA 02761

My momma heart aches for this child and his family; I'm asking that you read this; share to your Facebook feed; email the link to your friends and family - near and far; and keep Aydan in your thoughts and prayers. This is a departure from my normal blog fare but I happen to have some of the best readers on the planet and I know your hearts are as big as mine. Probably bigger, because we know mine is a little bit black.    

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Honey Boo Boo, But Nicer

My third child is crazy. He's an absolute animal who never stops moving, not for a moment. As a two-year-old, he has more energy than the other three of us in the household, combined, and he never fails to keep us all laughing. And screaming. But really, lots of laughing. I wish I had the time and energy to blog more of the hilarity that comes from life with my children but alas, little snippets will have to do.

My sister and niece stopped over for a bit this afternoon and The Baby was in rare form; he had put on a pair of his big sister's underwear and was demonstrating the yoga ABC's they've been working on. Because that alone isn't enough of a sight, while in the midst of "D: Down Diggity Dog" he starts singing/shouting "I'm shakin' my booty, I'm shakin' my BOOTY, SHAKIN' MY BOOTY, SEE?!" I couldn't tell you where the phrase comes from, nor where he picked up the sassy, southern accent, but it makes for some prime entertainment.

My quiet, unassuming niece rolls her eyes and says, "He's like Honey Boo Boo, only much nicer."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lessons On Nudity. And Humility.

I've never been quite sure when to pull the plug on my kids seeing me naked. I mean, I grew up seeing both of my parents in the nude on a pretty regular basis. Not because we were a super liberal, free-to-be-me kind of family, more because I had zero respect for their privacy when in the bathroom. Being a parent myself now, it's nice to know that I'm not the only kid who was a total asshole to my parents; I'm raising three of them to follow quite handily in my footsteps.

I want to raise these people with a healthy respect for their bodies and without shame but I don't know how to maintain an openness on the subject while also instilling good boundaries about privacy and respect for others. Being a tricky topic, I've pushed it out of my mind and thought I'd wait until they were older to set up a plan. After several recent post-shower interactions with my kids, now is clearly the time.

My bathroom set-up is horrible. Think, hotel: shower and toilet in one room with a door (that locks, thank God) and then a sink/vanity and linen closet outside of the lockable area. My oldest sister - who has four older children - thinks my bathroom rocks; I, on the other hand, do not enjoy readying myself for the day with three children joining me in an area that is literally 15 square feet. Most mornings consist of me jumping out of the shower and racing through my "pretty" routine as fast as possible to keep to a minimum the number of times that I have to scream "GET OUT OF THIS BATHROOM BEFORE I LOSE MY COTTON-PICKING MIND."

No sooner have I shoved them all out of my way, when one will wander back in to stand directly between me and the sink, clawing at whatever body part said child can reach while crying/giggling/begging to be held. My youngest is two and finds delight in pinching my generous post-pregnancy-extra-skin pooch that lies just below my belly button. Endless entertainment for that one, and a giant dose of humility for me. No one ever said parenting was good for the ego, did they?

Last week while toweling off in front of my 3 1/2 year-old daughter I noticed her regarding me with a curled lip, head cocked to the side and a certain disgusted curiosity pouring from her big, blue eyes. After a few moments she shakes her head and says, "You sure do got a hairy bottom, momma." She walks away, turning back to offer me a sweeping glance full of pity, embarrassed on my behalf. Though speechless, I'm sure nothing I had to say would have convinced her I wasn't some mutant creature.

Two days later my 5 year-old son walks into my bedroom while I'm bent over, fishing some clean clothes out of the unfolded mass in the laundry basket. Gathering my things, I set them on the bed and feel his finger poking into my butt cheek and thighs. As I turn around to tell him to keep his hands to himself he says, "Why do you have all those dents in your butt, mom? Do they hurt? Look, they're as big as my finger!"

With that, I found that the Naked Dilemma had solved itself; turns out that whole nudity question has much less to do with the age of your children than your ability to take the heaping insults about your deformed, hairy, dented, fleshy body.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I've already fixed my cocktail for the evening and am ready to sit down and indulge in the remainder of season two of Downton Abbey - I'm hopelessly hooked, speaking internally in a delightful, if muddy, British/Irish accent and readying myself for the day when I can "take to my bed and ring a bell for service", as my friend Mary has said. But before I permit such festivities I feel it so important to share my feelings and racing thoughts about the school shooting that befell Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT this morning.

I've only read the bare minimum news coverage so as to stay informed without letting it swallow me whole. My first sighting of the news was during an endless scroll through my Facebook newsfeed full of distraught messages that sent me directly to my CNN mobile app, my eyes partially covered in anticipation of what horrors had come knocking, this time around.

My stomach dropped right down to my toes as I took in the screaming headlines of a mass shooting with a significant loss of life - most of them being precious, innocent children. At this time there are twenty families who have received the most devastating news that any parent can ever fathom: your child has been killed. At school. At their elementary school! A place to which we send our children to learn, expand, socialize and make a place for themselves. An environment that we expect to be not only safe, but warm, supportive and full of potential; a place for them to grow into their future selves.

I've had a sick feeling since having first read the news; walking down the aisles in the grocery store seemed so normal, casual, almost disrespectful. How could I be so unconcerned as to be deciding over organic eggs or not? How indeed, when mothers, fathers, siblings and extended families all throughout CT and the nation, for that matter, will be making decisions regarding funerals and memorials for their dear, sweet babes.

Twenty pregnancies; twenty labors and deliveries; dozens of proud parents sobbing and cheering as they met these little wonders to whom they'd been gifted the opportunity to bring up - all of this cut short by the actions of one. No more firsts will be had; family make-ups irrevocably changed; best friends lost; an unending series of unanswerable questions that this community will face not only for the sake of outsiders, but their very own children and students who must now come to terms with the destruction of their safe space and shattered ideals at an age far too young for reason.

As I sat down to dinner with my children tonight, my mind was focused on the families I imagined as having been caught in the fray. The single mom, called up at her second job to be told that her son, the reason she wakes every day and works as hard as she does to make a better life, her lifeblood, her person, her one special person to whom life attaches all meaning, has been stolen away from her.

The new-to-town family, just relocated to the area from across the country, haven't yet met the neighbors but are now tragically familiar with the police force as a knock at the door this morning forever altered the course of the lives they'd so carefully considered and sought.

The couple who struggled for years with infertility only to be blessed with a late-in-life child, a child they so doted on and a miracle for which they never stopped thanking God. The life they had finally achieved after years of false starts and disappointments, destroyed in mere moments at the hands of a stranger.

I keep thinking of all the presents bought, wrapped, set under the Christmas tree now never to be had; Elves on Shelves that no longer have a purpose; the smiles and giggles that won't be heard in the coming weeks as we all gather and celebrate this season of togetherness. The pall that will forever be the holiday season for the families who must now lay to rest their children, and along with them, the life they had known and all the moments taken for granted.

I prayed over our meal tonight and cried as I spoke; my babes giggled as they watched me wipe my tears and for a moment I was tempted to ask them to respect my sad feelings. But I didn't. Because I'm so very, very fortunate that I don't have to explain this tragedy to them, nor could I in any manner that would make sense to them. None of this makes sense to me as an adult; thank goodness my babes are innocent enough that I've been spared the complicated conversation, at least this time, anyway. But the same can't be said for the impacted families and communities who are now tasked with the impossible: to make sense of the senseless and explain the unexplainable.

For all my grumbling I know there are many moms in Newtown who would give anything right now to hear potty talk at the dinner table; deal with vomit in the car; be a party to a kicking and screaming tantrum in the middle of Target; change wet sheets in the middle of the night and inhale that sweet, delicious scent of their sleeping loves. To that end I pray that I can retain the feelings I'm pouring into this post and never forget the sobs that have wracked my body as I consider "what if..."

So I ask that you call on your beliefs, whatever they may be, and send love, light, prayers, good thoughts, healing wisdom and anything else you can muster to the dozens of parents and hundreds of families who have been shaken to their very core by the events of this morning.

For your own loves, speak loudly and often of the love in your heart; there's no such thing as too much nor too often.

Love and light,

Friday, November 30, 2012

Spilled Milk

I was given this card after the birth of one of my children and laughed because it'd never happened to me. Until the fateful weekend when my now ex-husband left the freezer door ajar while we were out of town; an entire grocery bag of frozen breast milk thawed and had to be tossed. My daughter was only a few weeks old and I screamed at him "That was all the colostrum, you idiot!!It's like liquid gold! I can never get that back! Never!" I sobbed for an entire hour, inconsolably. Perhaps my post-partum hormone festival had something to do with my reaction, but I still say that the loss of 100+ oz of breast milk totally justifies my hysteria.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Real Friends Take Care of Your Maggots

I've been very fortunate to have found an amazing community of women whom I am blessed to call my friends; they're supportive, compassionate and always entertaining. With that out of the way I have to say, I'm winning the Best Friend Ever award along with Loyal Friend #1.

Three of us got together for Coffee & Conversation and our hostess was having a bit of a fruit fly problem. She'd spent the better part of three days on a bleach and Lysol bender trying to eradicate the pesky flies from her kitchen and had resorted to a darling little dish of vinegar and Dawn at the sink for pest control - thank you, Pinterest! The topic was soon forgotten as we moved on to the more pressing matters of preschool politics, curling irons and holiday plans. 

Midway through our morning, the kids came bouncing down the stairs to regale us with tales from their bountiful imaginations. All four of them were twirling around, dressed to the nines in old Halloween costumes and Christmas dresses, acting out a story about little bugs that were flying around upstairs in a bedroom. Loyal Friend #1 was really getting into it, acting it out with them and adding her own twists to the tale. Bless her oblivious little heart; it was sweet while it lasted.

Hostess and I made eye contact and you could see the wheels turning as we came to the same conclusion, silently mouthing Fruit Flies? to one another over the heads of our unsuspecting children and LF#1. We asked the kids to show us the bugs and they were only too happy to oblige, all seven of us trucking up the stairs as they exclaimed "There's a jillion of 'em!" The moms were moving noticeably slower than the kids and my stomach was starting to knot up; Hostess was already gagging and sweet, sweet LF#1 was still clueless.

Our fears were only too realized as we walked into the bedroom and came upon a swarm of fruit flies large enough to carry away the Fisher Price kitchen set that they were hovering around. The little sink was full of an unidentifiable, thick, brown liquid that seemed to be dripping from behind the door of the miniature microwave. Hostess was covering her face with her hands and I had pulled up the cowl neck of my sweater so as to minimize the likelihood of my inhaling any of those little mothers. LF#1 barreled into the room, still not fully aware of the situation and literally jumped and screamed when she saw what the rest of us were already recoiling from.

Hostess and I backed up and made LF#1 open the microwave door to just exactly what horrors lay behind it. And oh, was it ever horrific: a ginormous pile of brown goo that was teeming with fruit flies and maggots. Hostess was already halfway down the stairs, gagging all the way and racing for the bleach. The kids were pretty sure it was a granola bar but I'm positive that those don't melt; I deduced that it had been, at one time, a banana and was now simply a feeding station for larvae.

Hostess was completely out of commission, face ashen, as she battled back from the brink of a nervous breakdown. LF#1 and I got to work, shipping the kids downstairs so we could chemical bomb the room.

Us, to hostess: "You probably shouldn't let your child sleep in this room tonight."

Her near-tears response: "How long has she been sleeping in this bug infested room to begin with?!?!" We figured later that the offending banana had been festering for two weeks since the kitchen had been moved upstairs from its former place in the living room. We discussed a new idea that perhaps children are best kept in the dining room with food.

Once the chem bomb was unleashed I started working my MacGyver magic with a few garbage bags and some duct tape; I fashioned up a makeshift gunny-sac that we used to contain the entire kitchen set, then we tossed it outside so Hostess could simply point it out to her husband and allow him to deal with it. For our money, LF#1 and I would have pitched that kitchen in a quick little minute but Hostess and her husband are pretty sure it can be redeemed.

The entire experience was hilarious, at best, traumatic, at worst. But perhaps the most disturbing part of the entire incident came nearly a week later when I was back at Hostess's house for coffee; not only was the "redeemable" kitchen still sitting on the back patio, wrapped in all its plastic glory, but this little gem was sitting on the couch. If my lens was faster I'd have caught the best part: the fruit fly sitting atop the banana, having a little munch. The moral of the story is this: Good Friends handle your maggots for you. But only once.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Good Doctor

Due to post-divorce changes in insurance I found myself needing a new eye doctor. I ended up with a referral from my family practitioner to one of the ophthalmology clinics in town. Hands down, the very best referral I've ever been given. Note to self: send thank-you gift to Dr. S.

I arrived for my appointment needing a new prescription for my glasses and contacts and with a few questionable neurological symptoms that my family practice doctor thought best evaluated by a professional of the ocular sort. With nothing but the name of the doctor and an appointment time I had no idea what to expect. The optician was very friendly and nice, finishing her part of my visit quickly and leaving me with gigantically dilated pupils and streaks of angry, yellow eye drops running down my cheeks. Between the yellow tears and my incessantly watering eye relieving me of my mascara and eyeliner at a record pace, I'm pretty sure I looked ten shades of beautiful.

And in comes Dr. Gorgeous. Dr. Holy-Buckets-I-Wish-I-Would-Have-Showered-For-This-Visit. Dr. You're-So-Hot-I-Forgot-Why-I'm-Here. Dr. Thank-God-You're-An-Eye-Doctor-And-Not-My-Gynecologist. And he smelled good. Sooooo good. Like a warm spring morning, a crisp fall evening and a steamy summer night all rolled up in one dark haired, blue-eyed, muscular package.

His exam was thorough and painless. Ok, yeah, the eye doctor is rarely painful but just let me have my moment here, ok? He recommends some further testing but says he won't be able to read the results for a few weeks as he'll be out of the country. Must be nice to head out on vacation in April, right?

I went out to the reception desk to schedule my next appointment, a little skip in my step knowing that I would see him again soon. He finds me before I leave the office and hands me a pair of Seriously Glamorous plastic inserts for my sunglasses, you know, to counteract the dilating eye drops. There is no way to convincingly suggest that I won't be needing them; between the tears and eye drops I look like a domestic abuse PSA. Still, I insist that I'm fine and my eyes feel great. Never mind the fact that I literally can't even keep them open due to the bright sun shining in through the excessive number of windows.

Hoping for a subtle attempt at further conversation I say "Have a great vacation!"

Stoic, Handsome Doctor: " It's not actually a vacation; I'm going to Honduras. For a humanitarian mission with the National Guard; sort of like Doctors Without Borders."

Me: "Oh, wow. What will you be doing there?" Really, Leah? Really?

He lifts an eyebrow and slowly says "Um, I'll be doing eye exams. And minor eye surgery. For women and children without access to health care."

Of course you are. Of course. Because you don't have enough going for you, you must also be a Soldier. A fricking Soldier. A humanitarian-mission-taking, child-sight-saving, well-dressed, gorgeous, great-smelling Dr. Soldier. Advanced degree: check. Dedication to his patients (worldwide, no less): check. Sense of civic duty: check. Uniform, Uniform, Uniform: checkity check check check.

That about wraps it up, ladies. Quite possibly the most highly specialized brand of Man Candy ever created. And I have an appointment with him in just a few weeks. My dry eyes are simply torturous and I have no doubt he'll be quite concerned.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shit Just Got Real

On the eve of my 30th birthday, it seemed only fitting that I cross the very last threshold into the Land of Bona Fide Grownups. My first assigned task in Adult Town involved just enough money to cause serious second thoughts and give me a stomachache. Also, I cried the whole way home.

It is a gorgeous new necklace or pair of diamond earrings? Maybe those $600 riding boots I've been eyeing? Or maybe I finally went out and bought every Cuisinart and KitchenAid appliance I've ever wanted? Of course I deserve all of those things, but I went bigger. Much bigger. Think: living room. As in, Living Room on Wheels.

That's right, I bought a minivan. A full-fledged-soccer-momming-grocery-getting-zero-sex-appeal-inducing-kid-pleasing-ego-murdering Chrysler Town & Country. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, so I've been doing a pretty solid job of both.

I could go on for days about how comfortable and practical it is, how much the kids love it and how nice it'll be for long trips in the car. But that only adds to the stark reality that is the loss of my twenties, my "carefree" twenties that I packed full of every life experience possible:

20-22: Just a lot of floundering and a general search for purpose. I am bad at this.
23: Started dating the man who would become my now-ex husband. Aim high, ladies!
24: Married that man. (my inner monologue on the way down the aisle: "This will not end well.")
25: Gave birth to my sweet, firstborn son. *win*
26: Gave birth to my beautiful daughter. *win*
27: Gave birth to my littlest and last babe. *win*
28: Got divorced. True to form, it Did Not End Well.
29: Had a hysterectomy. Take that, Tampax and Midol!
29+++: Bought the damn van and left behind life as I know it.

It was every bit as crazy as it looks, and then some. Though with all that in my past, my thirties can only bring calm, right? Because that's what I'm telling myself. Over and over again I tell myself that 30 is good. Thirty is peaceful. Thirty is forward motion. Thirty is the *Decade of You*! Right? RIGHT?!