Friday, September 1, 2017

Withering in the desert

Since moving to AZ I've had several friends or relatives ask me, "Do you think you'll like living there?" I was always surprised by that question because, well, I've liked every place I've lived. Until now I've been convinced that happiness is a state of mind, and anyone who doesn't like where they live just hasn't explored the area enough. Well, now that it's been over two months since we've arrived I'm finally understanding that, yes, some places are actually harder to like than others.

It only took finding 4 scorpions in my house for me to conclude that humans just weren't meant to inhabit this place. What will it take for us all to get the message? The 125 degree days? Or the black widows festering around the perimeter of my house? Could it be the dozens of crickets that creep in every night from who knows where and cover my carpet despite several pest control attempts? No? How about the rocks and cacti just waiting to shred my children's hands and knees? You pick, but I'm convinced that we should just stop fighting nature and ship out.

OK I'm mostly kidding. I just happened to move here during the most extreme time of year. I LOVE LOVE my house, and my kids are making friends and Alaina is enjoying school. The area has a killer Craigslist and there are 3 Goodwill stores within 10 miles of me, thus satisfying my thrill for bargain hunting. I have 3 cousins and an uncle living close by, which has really helped with the transition. But I may or may not have already written Aldi headquarters with a plea to open a store here, and I miss having lots of grad student families around, and I really miss all the GRASS. So in the meantime I'll give myself the same advice I give Jesse every time we get in the car and burn ourselves and he yells, "I HATE PHOENIX:" Just give it time, Buddy. Someday soon this place will be home.

There is really good news though. In 4 months I'll be blogging about how wonderful the winter is here, and all you Midwesterners will be eating my dust (maybe literally if you come to visit me. There's a lot of dust.)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Westward Ho!

Well we did it. We said goodbye to our Indiana home and relocated to the Phoenix area. I have such mixed emotions about our move, because I loved West Lafayette and all my friends there, but it was time to take the next step in our lives (aka employment). The last few weeks before we left I would suddenly find myself overcome with emotion in the most random of places. Like when I was at the library for the last time. Here I am returning all of our books, and the tears start flowing because who knows what the libraries are like in Arizona, and the librarians will probably hate my loud children, and they will all probably have LATE FEES! Then another time I'm putting Koy down for a nap in the crib that I used for all three of my children, in the house that I brought all my newborn babies home to, and I lose it all over again. Indiana really had become my home. So last week when Alaina started urinating on random surfaces (on beach towels, in tupperware ???) after being fully potty trained for 3 years, I had more patience than normal. Change is hard, kiddo.
 We received a very warm welcome when we arrived. Like very warm. I'm talking 125 degrees warm. Our kids have really struggled with the heat, and tell me all the time that they want to go back home. Thankfully my MIL came out for a few days to watch kids while we looked for a house, but also provide some sort of normalcy for my poor uprooted children. It's been 7 days and we've already bought a car and put in an offer on an adorable house in North Mesa. Caleb isn't so convinced on the house, though. Maybe it's because I call it the "cutesy", and most men probably don't want to live in a life-size dollhouse. But all the women in his life gave it a double thumbs up. Pictures to come when we close next month!
We're currently in a 2 bedroom hotel suite until our short-term rental is available. I thought I'd go stir crazy in a 400 sq foot place, but let me tell you: two weeks of no cleaning, free breakfast every day, and a pool just around the corner convinced me. Let's not forget that I can keep the thermostat at 73 without paying a $700 electricity bill. Talk about living the suite life! It's also been nice to have friends/family in the area reach out and invite us over, so we're no cooped up every day. All in all, the transition hasn't been so terrible, and I'm excited to start making a home in the desert. Just no cactus, please. The kids are terrified of them. Literally cry every time they see one, which is obviously a lot. I'm just bracing for the day when they learn about scorpions.

Friday, March 17, 2017

C'est moi

I got a new phone for my birthday. A few days later I took a selfie of me and Koy, and thought to myself, "You don't look too bad, Snell." (Snell is what I call myself when I'm talking to myself.) But then I discovered that my new phone has a standard "touch up" feature that automatically smooths out and brightens complexions. I had no idea, and I felt so betrayed. It reminded me of the last time we took Snell family photos, and the photographer thought it necessary to photoshop my arms down to a more acceptable size.
This made me ponder about a few things:
1. Constantly seeing "perfect" images of ourselves and others only leads us to feelings of inadequacy and competition. It's unhealthy and unrealistic and we shouldn't buy into it.
2. Never compare yourself to others based on what you see on social media. For all you know, that "gorgeous" girl you graduated high school with used "touch up" mode to hide 50 extra pounds and a mustache.
3. I have a little souvenier on my body from the pregnancy/birth of each of my children. Alaina left a freckle on my temple and a zillion stretch marks. Jesse gave me permanent bags under my eyes from the sleep deprivation, and about twenty more stretch marks. Koy's mark is a wallet-sized patch of varicose veins on my right lower leg. It's so visible that most people ask me if I got kicked in the shin. Sure, it's not ideal, but that's mortality for you. All are prices I would happily pay for the blessing of having them in my life.

Physical flaws just give us character anyway. I guess the one perk is that now have an idea of what I'll look like after the resurrection.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Playing Catch up

Hello World! It's been so long since I've thrown my thoughts out to you in cyberspace. Let's attribute this to me being the world's most devoted and dedicated mother of 3, never sparing a moment for myself... (or not. My Netflix viewing history will say otherwise...) Seriously, 3 is WAY easier than 2. WHO KNEW?!?! My older 2 kids are best friends and play all the time, so I just get to snuggle the world's best baby and watch yet another episode of the Great British Baking Show. (Ok, I usually only do that when I'm folding laundry, but we have a LOT of laundry.) Life is really good right now. I'm not saying there aren't times when 80% of us are simultaneously crying, but somehow adding Koy to the family has had a calming effect on the other two kids, and it's made me remember that I actually like children!
We're still in West Lafayette, Indiana. Caleb is currently applying and interviewing for jobs. We have loved our time here, but are both ready to move on to the next phase of our lives.
I don't think I even wrote about Koy's birth story. Probably because I'm trying to purge it from my memory. Best baby, but worst delivery. I guess it could have been a lot worse. Nobody was in danger of dying or anything, but let's just say that pushing out a posterior 9.5-pound baby es no bueno. I had planned a water birth again, and we even invited Caleb's mom to be there because we were so confident everything would run as smoothly as the last time. Contractions were a piece of cake. I basically skipped into the hospital at 7 cm dilated. But when my water broke the midwife suspected meconium, and so they nixed the water birth plan. Then came pushing, which was no fun. I mean, it never is, but with your third you expect to push 3 or 4 times and be done. Instead, because Koy's head was turned and he was HUGE I pushed for about 35 unbearable minutes. Lots of pain, and lots of screaming. I'll forever remember looking up and seeing Caleb's mom hiding in a corner with a pillow covering her head and thinking, "Inviting her sure backfired. She'll need therapy after this." The recovery was also a lot more difficult, probably because of Koy's size, and because I'm apparently no spring chicken anymore.
But in retrospect I'll take a harder delivery for a healthy chubby baby who sleeps all the time and never cries except when his older brother kicks him in the head or steps on him or bites his finger.
So yes, life has been great, and suddenly I blinked and my baby turned six months old and my oldest is registered for kindergarten. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to pastry week with Paul and Mary.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lousy

OK, it's been a few months, so I can talk about it now: we got head lice.

Those of you who have had lice before can empathize with me. You know exactly how miserable it is.

Those of you who haven't can feel free to judge and stigmatize, because you probably still think lice only comes as a result of poor hygiene. I won't try and dissuade you, but you'll probably eat your words one day when your 5 year old brings it home from school. Then you can call me. I'll come over and help you get rid of it.

Lice is so gross. I've seen it a lot before as a school nurse, but it's a whole different ballgame when you have it yourself. When you get it, you feel like you have this dirty secret, and that nobody can know about the creepy critters sneaking around your scalp, feeding off of your blood and laying hundreds of eggs on your hair follicles. Killing the live bugs is the easy part. Some OTC lice shampoo will take care of them in ten minutes. No, the hard part is getting rid of the nits (lice eggs). I can't tell you how many hours I spent prying eggs from every strand of Alaina's hair. Let me tell you, it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "nit picking." I'll never use those words as criticism again. DO YOU KNOW HOW CRUCIAL NIT PICKING IS? If you don't pick every nit out of your hair, then in 7-10 days you'll have a whole new batch of bugs crawling around you head. It's even worse when mom gets lice, because who will comb all the nits out of her hair? Caleb was a trooper, but the poor guy was out of his element. He doesn't even know how to put hair in a pony tail, so watching him try to navigate my hair with a lice comb bore a strong resemblance to a 6 month old baby trying to use a spoon for the first time.

Your head has probably started itching, hasn't it? Sorry.

So anyway, I have no idea where we got lice from, but if it strikes again, I'm busting out my clippers, and we're all getting pixie haircuts.

Friday, April 22, 2016

PhDone

He did it! Caleb defended his thesis on Monday, which means he is set for graduation in May! I was able to watch his defense, and although I didn't understand a word he said, I've never been prouder! (OK, I understood about 10%. I even laughed at a joke about polymers that one of the professors cracked. But seriously, the depth of Chemistry knowledge blew my mind.) I've learned a few things about PhD programs that I thought I'd share.

1. A thesis defense is basically like this, just 20 times longer, and instead of weapons there are impossible questions and wild postulations flying around. Waiting at the end is a firm handshake if you're lucky, but thankfully no poison.

2. The entire academic world is addicted to coffee.

3. These people are title hungry. It's all about the coveted "Doctor" title. Don't even think about calling a professor "Mr. Smith," and using a first name might just get you killed. Caleb now has the kids calling him "Doctor Daddy." I'm feeling rather jealous that all my work over the last 5 years hasn't earned me some more letters after my name, so I'm awarding myself a Doctorate of Motherhood. I am now Lindsey Snell Miskin, RN, MomD.

4. Consider the following analogy. Grad student : free food :: Moth : Flame. Tell me, would you sit through 2 full hours of boring science gibberish for a free bagel? They would.

5. How does a Mormon grad student with a wife and 2 kids survive on a stipend meant to support one single person? Easy: Don't drink alcohol and cook at home. We've discovered that grad students blow about 10% of their income on booze, and the rest of it at restaurants. So choose either "tithing and family" or "booze and take-out," but either way the pay is pretty comparable.

We're very relieved to be graduating, but next comes the stress of finding/starting a job. I'm pretty supportive of whatever Caleb wants to do and wherever Caleb wants to go. My one stipulation is this: I don't want to have this baby in the back of a U-Haul.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

It's been a few months since my last post because lately I lack anything witty and/or earth shattering to share. (Besides that I'm pregnant.) I guess that's big news, but not really when it's your 3rd baby, and the reaction from the general public has switched from "How exciting!" to "I think you're insane," or "Don't you think the world already has enough mouths to feed?" Not that anybody has said as much with their mouths, but their faces say a whole lot. 

Today, two kids is the magic number in this society. ("Congrats, you've done your civic duty and replaced yourselves in the population!") But any more than that, and people start to roll their eyes at you in the grocery store. To the "My, you'll certainly have your hands full!" remark I often receive, I have the prepped response, "Full hands, and an even fuller heart." And it's true! I'm more thrilled with this pregnancy than either of the others, so I really don't like it when strangers throw a wet blanket on my excitement.

Granted, like the stock market, some years are better than others. (2014 was a doozy for me.) But, also like the stock market, things always, and I mean ALWAYS, go up. Insert brief economics lesson here: Please refer to below figure of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 1900-2012.


See? Always up in the long term. So I'm investing in my happiness future, and expecting huge returns. 

(BTW I'm due Sept. 24, and we won't find out gender.)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Aging

I had a few reality checks recently to remind me that I'm no spring chicken anymore.

The first one happened in December when I looked in the mirror and noticed several obnoxious white hairs in my eyebrow. Guys, I'm going gray already. Eyebrows, really? That would happen to me. Now about a quarter of my eyebrow is completely white. Combine that with my pasty-white complexion, and I have to pencil them in or else children will start running for cover when the old Albino lady comes around.

And then there was the trip to the mall that really reminded me of my age. I had never set foot in H&M before this month. Not that I have anything against it; I just try to avoid the mall like the plague (another age indicator). But it's hard to turn down a gift card, so Caleb and I braved the land of hipsters, tweens, and that irresistible Cinnabon aroma. When we entered H&M, our first clue that we didn't belong was our confusion over whether we were in the men's or women's section. Where I come from men don't wear pastels and women don't wear over-sized flannel lumber-jack tops or combat boots. Also, I was just getting used to the women's skinny jean trend, but I don't think I'll ever be ok with my husband wearing them. And let's talk about the frayed denim look: If I want my pants ripped up, I'll just run them through a cheese grater, thank you very much. We wandered aimlessly and nervously through the store for about an hour before Caleb found something he could wear and still retain his self-respect. But it was miserable, and we're never going back.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Christmas Carol

My family started a new thing this year: a family Christmas talent show. I was planning on doing a dramatic reading from a scene in A Christmas Carol, but nixed the idea after all the unrelenting mockery and teasing from my sisters. ("Nerd alert!", "that's so Lindsey," etc).
Instead I wrote/performed an original song that pretty much summed up 2015:

"On the 12th day of Christmas my children gave to me:
12 dirty diapers
11 temper tantrums
10 loads of laundry
9 runny noses
8 tiny teeth marks
7 sleepless nights
6 urgent care trips
5 yearrrrs in grad schoooool...
4 timeouts
3 messy meals
2 bottoms spanked
And we're one big happy family!"


And speaking of the family talent show, somebody probably should have screened Corrie's talent.
video

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rose-colored glasses

Most of my life is currently spent trying to understand the world through the eyes of a child. And it's really fun.

For example, this week a six-year-old paid me what I think was in her eyes the highest of compliments when she exclaimed, "Wow, you know a lot of stuff. You should work at Wal-Mart." And why not? Wal-Mart has everything. (except available check-out lines, quality customer service, and cilantro. But I'll save that post for another day.) Naturally, it's employees' intellect must be as abundant as the inventory!

My new calling as the ward primary chorister has also taught me that a child's coolness standard is based on how ridiculous I dress and act. There is nothing like watching a 5-year old roll with laughter because you are wearing your sunglasses on the back of your head. (A small part of me wonders if I've tapped into Lady Gaga's psyche with this one. Trust me, I don't dress like her though.)

I also love how children simplify things. Today in church Alaina candidly told the strangers in the pew behind us, "yesterday my mom went into her room and cried because she lost the carrot peeler." It's true. Let's just leave out the details about the entire tube of lotion squirted on the carpet, the Jesse-Alaina duo tantrum in Joanns, the daddy-is-gone-for-8-days exhaustion, and the discovery that, yes, Jesse did throw your nice and rather expensive carrot peeler in the trash--that was collected yesterday." But children aren't burdened with all of this emotional baggage. They call it like they see it. It seems so liberating, and  I love it. Except for the near-daily glares we get from strangers following a pregnancy inquiry.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Buenas noches

Caleb was on hour two of home teaching. With both kids asleep by 7:30, it seemed like a Netflix kind of night. I don't know why I still have any hope in Netflix. Thousands of movies, and there isn't a darn thing to watch. So, yet again, I got sucked into a ridiculously cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movie. It wasn't great, but the night improved when our home teachers dropped by some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. (Must be the last week of the month.) It was during this binge watching/eating experience that Caleb walked through the door with---tamales. That man knows me too well. So I made some room on the couch for him and we watched ourselves some terrible tv together while enjoying some authentic Mexican food. 5.5 years later, and we're still keeping things "spicy" around here. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Turning the mother cheek

Who do I talk to about a hostile work environment? I think I live in one, but somehow I don't think OSHA is going to care, and I'm pretty sure they don't charge toddlers with parental abuse. I remember applying for a job where I'd be working with mentally handicapped adults, and the interviewer casually mentioned that some of the residents could get violent. "Don't be surprised if someone takes a swing at you every once in a while," chuckled the lady across the table. I ran out of there and never looked back. Well, the joke's on me, because now that's my life, and I've got the mother load (maybe that's where the term originated from) of reports to give whoever deals with work-related injuries for domestic homemakers.
Yesterday Jesse threw his noggin back into my jaw and I bit myself, taking out a solid chunk of my inner cheek. I have a minor abrasion above my right brow from the corner of a library book being hurled at my head. I have at least five things dropped on my toes every day, ranging from tv remotes to ceramic bowls to hammers (true story. He dropped a hammer on my toe). And I also currently have claw marks up and down my neck--that's Jesse-talk for "I'm dissatisfied" lately. I don't get paid enough for this, people! Wait...
Anyway, the amazing thing is that most of my injuries are acquired accidentally. I have the most clumsy children on the planet, which actually makes sense now that I think of it. I'm a total klutz. Last month I shut my face in the car door. And last week I hopped off the kitchen counter (don't ask why I was up there in the first place. Long story) and ripped an entire cabinet door off. No joke, my belt loop got caught on the cabinet handle and tore the whole thing off. I wanted be mad at myself, but I was too impressed by the quality of my jeans. At least they'll survive raising my kids, even if I don't.

Friday, September 11, 2015

"Prove me now herewith..."

I don't often share thoughts on things of a spiritual nature, but I'd like to more often. I thought I'd start with this: Caleb was on an NSF Fellowship for the past 4 years, and it expired last month. This means that his advisor now has to fund him until he graduates. Unfortunately his advisor is tight on funding, and told Caleb he would be taking a significant pay cut. We're talking $9,000/year, which is huge considering how we're already flirting with the poverty line. Needless to say, I have been STRESSING over this for the past few months.
Well, recently I discovered that I misunderstood how I get paid for my part time job as a school nurse. I thought I got paid hourly, but I'm actually on an hourly salary, which means I got paid all through the summer even though I didn't have to work. Do you know how much money I made? $9140,0. That, my friends, is a tithing blessing. Paying 10% of your income seems nuts to most people, but time and time again I have seen how the Lord has blessed my family with financial stability, ideas for thriftiness, and debt avoidance because we pay tithing. I LOVE learning how to make more with less, and having a frequent reminder that everything I have--money included--comes from the Lord. Paying tithing doesn't mean we'll ever be rich, but the Lord, as promised in Malachi, will truly open the windows of heaven and shower us with the blessings we need if we pay our tithing.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Maternal ethics 101

Mommy dilemmas. Sometimes seemingly mundane choices can have momentous consequences.
Take the following examples:
She falls asleep before brushing her teeth. Do I wake her up from her beloved (by me) sleep? Or...
Let it slide, and possibly let the "sugar bugs" rot her teeth out? They all fall out anyway, right?


The kids ask for a chocolate, and there's one left. Do I sacrifice my own wants and let them have it? Or...
Risk purgatory by telling them that the chocolate is all gone. We all know where liars go...


I've been dying to wear these shoes. Do I throw caution to the wind and sport them at church next week? Or...
Be reasonable and, knowing that Jesse always makes a break for the pulpit, save myself a snapped fibula.

In case you're wondering, I swirled a toothbrush around in her unconscious mouth, they got the chocolate, and I have embraced my inner mama-frump. If you're a childless size 8.5, they're yours.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Little mirrors

We've hit that point where my children reflect my unknown flaws right back in my face.
Did anyone know that I grunt when I get frustrated? Why didn't someone tell me?!? Now I have a 3 year old Neanderthal living in my house who snorts or groans at the slightest catastrophe. And I taught her that!
She isn't always subtle in exposing my weaknesses either: "Mommy, why are you always so cranky? I want Daddy to stay home with me." Ouch. She even made up a song to comfort me in those far-too-frequent bouts of melancholy. Most moms of girls have probably heard this song, but Alaina's lyrics go as follows:

"Everyone gets cranky sometimes
It's ok to hit, and it's ok to bite..."

I promise I didn't teach her that, but I must say I'm impressed with such creativity, which I have to assume was also learned from me. In fact, I'll go ahead and shamelessly claim that my kids learned every positive trait from yours truly. Alaina already has a talented ear for music and complements every stranger with "you look beautiful in that shirt!" or "I just love you!" So let's just say I taught her that. Jesse is showing signs of brilliance with his verbal abilities and sleuth-like escape tactics. Must be from my side of the family. (Let's just not mention that his father is a summa cum laude PhD candidate with an MIT acceptance and a perfect GRE Math score.)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Towanda

I think I'm having a mid-mid life crisis, because I just chopped my hair off, and I bought some crazy pants that are a wild deviation from my normally unremarkable wardrobe, and I put myself on a diet.
I'm not sure where this is coming from. Maybe it's the first signs of spring emerging from a dismal winter that make me feel like a new woman. Maybe my life has held fast to routine for so long that my psyche demands change before I have a nervous breakdown. Or maybe all the requests for bedtime stories about Pegasus Unicorn Princesses is slowly driving me insane. I can't really say. But I can say that I feel like I can conquer the world, and I'm slightly concerned for anybody who decides to cut me off in traffic.
https://youtu.be/lx0z9FjxP-Y

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lost

I can’t find my dustpan. This is a problem because a dustpan does not travel very far. It emerges twice—who am I kidding, maybe once—each day from the side of the fridge and then it gets shoved right back in there 30 seconds later when its job is through. This leads me to believe that one of the littles stole it, and it is therefore lost forever, or at least won’t be found for months until I randomly find it stuffed in the barbecue outside or something. Hmm. Mental note to check barbecue later. I think somewhere out there is a vortex of knickknack hostages. Every kid knows to take their parents’ important stuff there to disappear—just like every kid knew to blow into their Nintendo game every time it froze back in the 90s. It’s right up there with the infant sucking reflex. Kids are just born knowing this stuff, people.

So far I’ve lost approximately nine spoons, a dozen shoes (they never lose both shoes; just one shoe from every pair they own so they’re all worthless), dental floss, a can opener, and about a hundred sippy cups. Sippy cups are the calling card of the Miskin family. If we’ve been to your house, chances are you have one of our sippy cups under your couch. We won’t talk about all the toys we’ve left places, because it’s one of my best de-cluttering methods. Who cares about a few lost barbies, but try making soup without a can opener. It’s about as easy as EATING the soup without spoons.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The bully

I have yet to figure out exactly what to say to another parent after my own child hurts their kid. After all, she's, three, and I'm pretty sure she'll grow out of it--or at least I think she will. Otherwise I'm raising the world's first female bouncer. Like, isn't "Hey, I'm sorry Alaina pushed Gavin off a bridge" or  "Myles may have a bruise because Alaina strangled him with the curtain sash today" a bit inadequate? (Yes, both of these things really happened.)
The girl can be ruthless. She will search out a weak spot and destroy--and she likes to practice on her brother. (At least this way I don't have to apologize to anyone, right?) Jesse  got stitches after he sliced his nose open when he fell and hit our tv stand. So naturally, now when Jesse annoys Alaina, she pokes him IN THE NOSE. What's a mom to do! I feel so conflicted, because if I'm too lenient she may start torturing animals and then become a serial killer. Too harsh and I may crush that bright and spunky spirit that I love so much. No pressure.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ions

Caleb convinced me to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes last week, and it was so awful. I want those 106 minutes of my life back. But that's what you do when you're married; you sit through bad movies because your sweetheart likes shallow plots, terrible dialogue, and physics-defying special effects. Why? Because the next week he will sit through five hours of "Wives and Daughters" with you, despite its poor cinematography, sappy romance, and overly-dramatic theme music. It's give and take. (Let the record state that I LOVE Wives and Daughters despite its previously-mentioned shortcomings.) Thankfully we found an audiobook that required no compromise between us. It's called The Disappearing Spoon. We both are loving this book, but probably wouldn't recommend it to "normal" people because it's a history of the elements of the periodic table. So we may not like the same movies, but we've got chemistry! (I couldn't help myself.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Old Fogey

My mom has always told me that I am an "old soul." I used to resent that statement, but as I am approaching "upper 20's" status (happy 27th to me tomorrow!) I have come to accept reality. I am an old soul. I love to go to bed early and wake up early. I am a school nurse (the next youngest school nurse in my district is older than my mother). I play racquetball with a group of ladies who are all over 65. I am already hitting the point where technology eludes me, and I don't even care. I've also hit the point where large groups of people overwhelm me, and I'd much have an intimate conversation with one or two other people rather than socializing with a boistrous group of 20. (Too much daggum racket!) I'm all about matinees and discounts, and I already have some gray hair. Time to come to grips with my identity.