Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How To Teach Your Child To Color On Himself

In the interest of relieving some stress on my part, my darling sister made dinner for me and offered to paint my nails. My love language is primarily acts of service, so this made me feel very special and very loved. Both of the kids were extremely interested in the whole process of painting nails and my son was particularly intrigued that his Auntie was “coloring” mommy’s fingernails. He expressed some concern that my toenails should be painted as well, to which I happily obliged. I do believe that he was generally disappointed with the way things turned out, however, when his suggestion to paint my knees next was overruled.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Paying Homage To The Scary, Scary Needle

Some mornings I wake up and have to wrack my brain to think of something to blog about. This only happens rarely, as there is always something going on around here. However, this morning was one of those unusual mornings where I woke up and thought, “Ugh. I really need to blog today… what am I going to write about?” And then my husband decided to go for the blood work the doctor ordered last week.

My husband is not a little guy. He is six-foot-two-inches tall and he’s strong; he can grow a beard in a matter of days due to his Irish genes that are constantly shoving hair through his skin night and day. The shoes he wears are a size thirteen and could double as a canoe and save the lives of my children during a flood.

Notwithstanding his manly appearance, my poor husband despises needles. So much so that if his inner elbow is even touched by my hand he blanches and his insides begin to churn. He needs to be restrained if the need arises for splinter removal, and stubbing a toe requires bed rest in order to make a complete recovery.

Needless to say, it greatly surprised me to see him up and preparing to go to the lab this morning without my pestering him about it for weeks and weeks. I tried not to think about what was happening the whole time he was gone because I just couldn’t see how it would help; instead I tried to focus on controlling the spurt of giggles that was sure to issue forth from my mouth on seeing him stumble through the door in the manner of a person who has had a near-death experience.

Sure enough, on his arrival home he turned the key in the door and lurched into the living room looking like there wasn’t blood enough left in his whole body to set a little color to his cheeks. So much for trying to be kind: my nostrils flared and my lips pursed with the effort it took to maintain a straight face. He tap-danced into the dining room with his squirmy legs going a mile a minute in his distress.

“How did it go?” I ask.

“It was horrible! They took two HUGE vials of blood and then a small one! They were like this big,” he insists while measuring an imaginary four-inch tube, “I should have taken a glass of juice with me or something.”

“They usually have…” I begin, but he cuts me off.

“…And then my shoe fell off because I was squirming in my seat so much. I was trying to think about the kids, but then I couldn’t concentrate because my shoe was on the floor. You should have gone with me!” he whines while high stepping around the dining room unable to keep still. “I don’t know how I’m going to be able to work today- I’m not going to be able to use my arm… I should have asked for a sling… or a note for work. It hurt so much! I must have sensitive veins or something.”

That last part about did it for me. “You DO NOT have sensitive veins! What does that even mean? Do you know how often I have to go and get stuck?! And I always bruise!” I screeched (because I’m apparently incapable of acting like an adult one-hundred-percent of the time myself).

He stopped pacing long enough to think about how silly his last statement sounded and he even managed a chuckle. I patted him on the back and told him how proud I was that he went to the lab all by himself without being threatened on pain of death. That helped, but I think he was really hoping for a lollipop and for me to swab his forehead with a cool cloth while murmuring what a “poor baby” he was.

“You know,” he muttered, “I think I told her to think how silly it would be if I was a sky-diving instructor and yet couldn’t sit still for a needle.” His thought processes are just weird that way. I guess that’s part of the reason I love him so much.

Friday, April 25, 2008

And So It Happens

There was a point yesterday afternoon where I was unsure whether I was at long last losing my mind, or if my daughter was the possessor of super-powers. My son had decided to make yesterday one of those rare days where he clambers up onto the couch and settles down for a nap; my ten-month-old daughter sat on the floor with her teething blanket watching a video, so I thought I would take the opportunity to go upstairs to check my email and shut down the computer.

It was only a couple of seconds before the baby noticed that I was gone, and I heard her crawl over to the steps and start banging on them with her little open palm. She does this frequently, as she has decided that the stairs are great fun and she likes to climb up and down, up and down, on the bottom step. She had only once managed to mount the second step.

Over the next minute or so I could hear her smacking and happily jabbering which perplexed me a little bit because of late she has been suffering from acute separation anxiety to the point that I can rarely go to the bathroom without actually taking her in with me. I turned off the computer and swiveled the chair just in time to see her proud smiling face peek around the corner from the top of the steps.

I made reference earlier to the fact that I thought I might be losing my mind, because when I saw her at the top step I became instantly confused and wondered how I could have forgotten that I had brought her upstairs with me. I figured it was out of the question that a tiny person, weighing a mere thirteen pounds at her ten month check-up, would have been able to climb three steps onto a landing, make a ninety-degree turn, and scramble up an addition ten steps. Being fairly certain that I had not brought her up myself I naturally concluded that she must be capable of flight.

After making a couple of frantic phone calls (mainly to re-assure myself that men in dark suits wouldn’t be knocking on my door to take my children away because of some perceived neglect) and fervently thanking God that my daughter didn’t tumble down the stairs and break all of her bones, I decided it would be a good idea to watch her in another attempt so that I could see how she had managed to get safely to the top looking so proud of herself. She may have only been able to mount the bottom step at breakfast, but now she was zipping up those steps like she’d been doing it for weeks, chattering and shaking her head around, with her pants falling down the whole way up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Snuggle Buggle

The little guy has gotten into the habit of requesting to go bye-bye every morning. He will start at the top of his list, “go see Nana’s house”, and proceed to work down the list from “go the store” all the way to the bottom, “go to doctor’s”, in hopes of finding something that I will agree to do. One look at his bruisy knees and elbows would suggest that I frequently give in to requests like “goes outside” and “go to the park”. The poor kid appears destined to have his mommy’s genetics which dictate instant bruising if someone even stares too intensely in my general direction.

This morning my son started asking to go to Nana’s house before he even woke up. Unfortunately for him, mommy is just too tired to go anywhere today; I find that traipsing about with two children in tow takes a certain amount of energy. There are advantages to being tired: I tend to be more flexible about the amount of housework I feel needs to be done over the course of the day, which leaves me more time to enjoy my children.

After lunch the baby fell asleep in her highchair and my son decided he wanted to snuggle. It is not often that he wishes to snuggle during the afternoon, and considering that I felt like laying on the couch anyway the timing was swell. Although there were a lot of elbows and knees and toes digging into my organs and extremities it was still the best snuggling experience ever, with lots of kisses and chitchat and I-love-you’s. Still, all (good) things must come to an end and all little bladders need to be emptied; in this case the wetting of the blanket signaled the end of snuggle time for us and the beginning of laundry time for me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And Goodwill Toward Little Boys

It isn’t every day that a nice energetic, grandmotherly sort of lady buys my son a blue parrot at the craft store. As we passed her near the end of an aisle, she greeted my son and he immediately launched into a tribute about a parrot figurine he had seen on our last trip. It would seem that she found him quite charming and the two of them chatted about the wonderful model bird that the little guy remembered.

After a few pleasant minutes we parted company and continued on with our individual shopping activities. A little while later when we passed near the front of the store the same nice lady hailed us from the checkout line to confer upon my little boy the parrot he had so lovingly described to her.

It was such a refreshing and heartening experience; both my son and I were imprinted by the act of kindness. My son was still repeating the words of blessing that I prayed for our friendly stranger as I strapped him into his car seat. Hearing him pray for someone or listening to him loudly sing “Jesus Loves Me” during our errands is so fulfilling.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rule #1: Bugs Belong Outside

My husband thought it would be a good idea to bring a salamander into the living room. I admit I have always thought salamanders to be cute little buggers, but not inside where they could leap from a person’s hand to dart under the living room furniture where they would be lost forever until turning up on the bed pillow all snuggly and curled up next to one’s head. I mean really, there are limits and rules about where one can handle these types of creatures. At least there should be.

I would like to say a word about the dreaded stinkbug. It seems that as soon as the weather begins to get warm they manage to find their way into the house. There haven’t been many yet this spring; the new windows appear to be reducing the number that actually penetrates the living space. While my girlfriend and I were at the park the other day she was telling me a story about how she woke up one night to find a stinkbug pattering around on her lips. She thought it was a hair and when she went to brush it away she realized, to her horror, that it was not a hair.

As I was getting myself ready for bed on Friday night I came across one of the cats staring at the moulding near the bathroom door. This posture typically means that he is watching a bug; sure enough, I followed his gaze right to the culprit. I grabbed a piece of toilet paper and proceeded to seize the stinkbug. Alas, my bit of toilet paper was not large enough and the imposter flitted away before I could acquire a good death-grip.

I searched and looked and even squinted in every corner looking for that stinkbug. I even tried to get the cat re-interested in the game, but he quit on me and went to lie down in a nice comfy chair somewhere. At the urging of my bladder I finally gave up and went into the bathroom. Whilst enjoying the liberty of being able to relieve myself without an audience, I felt a string tickling my right upper arm.

First, I remembered that my shirt had no loose strings, and very quickly after that I recalled my friend relating the feel of a stinkbug’s feet to a tickly hair. I cringed and slowly turned my head to peak down at my arm. Of course I did what any in-control person would do when discovering a disgusting bug crawling on their body: I flicked that thing off my arm to land wherever it may.

Thankfully, it landed in the white cast-iron tub so I didn’t have to go back to my fruitless search. I’m sure it got quite a laugh sitting on my shoulder while I searched high and low for its new perch. If you live in a house prone to stinkbugs beware the crawling tickly hair on your face that wakes you up in the middle of the night, it might try to crawl up your nose.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wow. The Sun Is Hot.

One would think that I’m a brand-new mom and have never taken my children outside in the warmer weather. It was nice and toasty warm here today and my girlfriend and I took the kiddos to the park. It is always tricky this time of year when it comes to appropriate outdoor attire. Sometimes there is still a bit of a nip in the air even when the temperature goes up.

I decided against putting the little guy in shorts and opted for what I thought was the safer choice: wind pants. Last summer I stored a bottle of sunblock in the car so that I didn’t have to remember to take it with me every time I left the house. Of course I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet this year.

So there we were at the park. And let me tell ya, it was pretty darn hot out there today. Way too hot for wind pants and way too intense for fair skin to be without sunblock. After being there for about five minutes I was trying to decide whether the flush in my kid’s cheeks was extremely fast-acting sunburn that had the ability to penetrate the hat he wore or if he was being smothered to death by his too-hot pants.

One of the other young mothers (whose bag looked like it had enough stuff in it to cover any feasible emergency and then some) took pity on me as she watched me fret over the poor little guy’s face and offered to share her sunblock and some advice. For all of you out there who are ignorant in the purchasing of sunblock and just buy whatever brand you can find that is available with SPF 45, she told me that Blue Lizard sunblock is the best for kids because it contains zinc oxide (she works at a dermatologist office, so I guess she would know).

The little guy had tons of fun going down the slides while his sister chilled in the stroller and I found myself able to relax a little knowing that the sun wasn’t going to char and disfigure my baby’s face. I do believe I will put him in shorts tomorrow, especially if our day entails any romping around in the afternoon sun; and as soon as the period is typed onto the end of this sentence I am going to grab the pink tube of tear-free SPF 50 sunblock and put it into the diaper bag.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Learning Is Fun

My little man is experimenting with first names. This means that just as often as he calls me “momma” he calls me “faith”. Actually, what he does is call me “faif”. Like yesterday when we were about to leave the house he called, “do you have the keys, faif?” There are certain phrases that my BoBeans has learned really well because he hears them over and over. Anytime someone leaves the house without him they are admonished to “drive safe”.

I have always wondered why Harper Lee choose to have the children in the literature classic To Kill A Mockingbird refer to their father by his first name. For whatever reason, she did and my husband has taken to calling my son “Jem” when the little guy addresses him by his first name because that is the name of the little boy in the book. My husband congratulated himself on how clever that was.

Another word BoBeans is trying out is the word “no”; he always answers a question that way, even when he means to say yes; it’s really kind of frustrating. If he is offered a chocolate cookie he responds in the negative, but as soon as the cookie is taken away he screams frantically to have it back. Really, what is that? Ugh! Use of that word has also made him capable of being bossy. I have been instructed not to nibble on his toes, not to move his cars, not to sing, and also not to kiss Daddy.

My son seems to be making an attempt to figure out what his role in the family is. He is a little mommy to the baby when it comes to phrases like “no touch!” and “no shouting!” (There’s that word again!) I would love to say that his primary focus is the baby’s health and well-being, but most of the time he is telling her not to touch his cars and trucks, or to stop crying when she is waiting to be fed. Yesterday he informed me that he was checking the baby’s diaper for any yuckies; he also tries to help her with her shoes when we are preparing to go somewhere.

Considering the fact that he is two-and-a-half I thought now would be a good time to learn some life skills other than making sure one has the keys before locking the front door. I also thought that it would give us more one-on-one time. For some reason I decided that having him help with the dishes would be a good idea. By help I mean that he plays in the water and makes his immediate area generally soggy. But it’s fun and it is something that we can do together that still enables me to get my housework done.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh, The Burning!

While frying eggs yesterday morning, my husband decided he would be able to flip them a little easier if he braced a finger against the side of the skillet. He quickly realized that the blue gas flame not only heats the cooking surface of the pan, but the sides as well. It turns out that I really should have refrained from teasing him because a few hours later found me suffering from a burn wound myself.

In the act of removing my ceramic stone from the oven, atop which some lovely toasted bread sat, my left palm brushed against the wire rack which is supposed to make the stone safer and easier to remove from the oven. One wouldn’t think that gently brushing against blazing, sizzling metal could produce a glaring inch-long white sear. I had hoped that if I ran my open palm under cold water for a while any blisters would be deterred from forming.

Having a wound that renders one’s hand practically useless is very detrimental to a mother. Trying to change the diaper of a wriggling baby one-handed is a bit of a trick. In the eight hour span between when the accident occurred and bedtime I had to keep ice on the burn constantly, or the fiery pain would actually make my eyes water. Even after I fell asleep the pain woke me intermittently during the night. It caused me once again to consider the practice of cauterizing wounds. I believe if it were my choice I would prefer taking a bullet and being put out to pasture instead of biting a bullet and smelling my flesh cook.

Regardless, I did have to give my husband a lesson on “how the stove works” again. After hearing the tick-tick-tick followed by the whoooosh of the burner igniting no less than three times in six seconds, I hastened to his side with a cry of, “you’re going to kill us all!” just in time to watch him position the dial at a setting that doesn’t even exist.

He claims that it was the urgent sincerity in my voice coupled with the actual words that caused him to cackle uncontrollably, and he was hasty to reassure me that he was in no way endeavoring to fill up the entire house with gas fumes. I believe the root his inability to learn how the dials operate after repeated lessons, is that his man’s brain has a hard time grasping that the dial works in a counter-clockwise manner, as he seems to be intent on making it work in the more logical clockwise way.

If, at any time, I go for a week or more without posting a new blog please be advised that it might be due to the fact that I am lying on the kitchen floor choking on poisonous fumes. If such an event should occur I would ask that the proper authorities be notified and that take-out would be ordered for the duration of my recovery since my husband would henceforth be banned from playing with the stove.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Changes... Changes...

There are some changes that are good and don’t interfere with a person’s everyday life, like changing into clean underwear every day. While giving my kids lunch yesterday I looked out of the window and saw a vehicle with the words “Parking Enforcement” stuck to the side idling in the middle of the street while the driver alternately contemplated our car and looked down into his lap in the posture of someone writing out a violation.

Shortly before, the garbage men had hauled away our trash, so I decided to go outside and put our empty cans away while working up the courage to approach the gentleman and ask him what the problem was. Turns out I didn’t have to approach him at all; he watched me drag the garbage cans away from the curb before indicating that he wanted to speak with me.

When we first purchased our home fourteen months ago there was some confusion about how the parking on our street worked. Our house is on a corner lot and on the side of our home people park facing the “wrong” way because the wooded hill on the far side of the street negates people being able to park there at all; in front of the house cars parallel park on the opposite side of the street and angle park on the side our home sits on. We were mindful to watch how our neighbors parked their own vehicles and mirrored our own parking after theirs. We live in a city, so it isn’t unusual to see a police car cruise down the road. Never having gotten a parking ticket before we assumed that we had a solid grasp on the parking situation.

Well. Without going into boring details it would seem that our car was not twenty feet from the corner, nor was it parked at the appropriate angle. Even though there was nothing gracious about his attitude he graciously voided the ticket and made me solemnly swear to move my car twenty feet from the corner (about halfway down the block). I really don’t see what this new parking scheme is going to do other than lose us one parking spot on either side of the corner, I mean, there isn’t even a stop sign there! But I suppose rules are rules even when they don’t make sense. Being forced to take a whole different approach to parking in front of a person’s own home is the type of change that isn’t life changing, but it can seem like a huge nuisance initially.

I put my daughter in a long sleeved dress yesterday and she found it challenging to crawl on her hands and knees because her knee would pin down the dress and she was unable to move her arm forward. So for the whole day she had to change her crawling style from hands-and-knees to hands-and-tippy-toes. She looked like Spider-Man grasping the floor with her fingertips and toes while her rear-end stuck up in the air! I tried in vain to get a picture to post after we got home last night from a day at Nana’s, but she was cranky and in no mood to be tortured by the camera. Even after she was out of the dress and into her jammies she still crawled that way.

About once a year my husband decides to appease me and shave his beard off. He usually does this in the summer time so that his face can get a chance to breath. This year the whole face-shaving ritual came a little early. He came downstairs last night (after he had splashed water all over the bathroom and left a layer of tiny little hairs on the sink) without the beard.

The baby always cries when men she isn’t used to seeing all the time try and talk to her. She took one look at daddy and totally freaked. It took him a little while to convince her that he was indeed her very own daddy. The poor kid is already having some separation anxiety issues after being left with her auntie last weekend. Now I can’t even leave her in a room with her daddy, whom one would think looks like the man with a scar down the left side of his face and bald patches strewn throughout his otherwise long hair by the quality of the baby’s earsplitting scream.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gate Crasher

My tough little girl got her first bloody lip the other night. I don’t know if this happens to all children, but both of my kids had their first bleeding boo-boo by injuring that tendon that runs from the top lip to the gums. I think that she is destined to get hurt just as much as or more often than her brother regardless of the fact that she is a girl.

I had placed the baby in the kids’ bedroom to play while I got my son and myself ready for bed. He was impatient to have access to his room and instead of waiting for me to lift him over the baby gate to deposit him safely on the other side he decided to stand in the hallway and give the gate a couple of good thumps.

The thing must not have been snug into the doorframe tightly enough because the next thing I knew the gate gave way and trapped my screaming infant beneath it. I suppose I have to take some responsibility for the mishap considering that I put the gate up. It is also possible that the gate is simply not meant to take the brute force of a twenty-nine pound toddler throwing himself at it like a battering ram. (That may be a bit of an exaggeration since I didn’t actually see him do it, but that’s sure what it sounded like.)

Two complications inevitably arise from this sort of situation. The first is the challenge of making a two-point-five year old understand the concept of cause and effect- you pushed on the gate and it fell causing the baby to fall over backward, hit her head and bleed from the mouth; the second difficulty is whether to clean the blood out of the baby’s mouth with a tissue or tip her head forward so she can stop gurgling and spit the moisture out of her mouth onto the carpet.

I opted for swabbing the blood out of her mouth, and her brother seemed to understand that he had hurt her because he was pretty anxious to give her kisses and say sorry. My little girl recovered rather quickly from her accident and was back to climbing over obstacles and throwing herself in harm’s way in no time at all. I’m starting to think that I should just bundle her in bubble wrap and be done with it. It would definitely reduce the number of gasp-and-run moments.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Wanna Chocolate Cake!

The last few nights I have had some difficulty sleeping. One o’clock this morning found me putting a chocolate cake in the oven because I was stressed and in desperate need of a cocoa fix. By the time it was done cooking I could hardly keep my eyes open, but I managed to find the strength to eat a small piece before crawling into bed.

When there is a super-moist chocolate cake sitting on the countertop what is a person supposed to eat for breakfast? Chocolate cake, of course. If Bill Cosby can give his kids chocolate cake for breakfast I suppose it’s okay for me to do the same. Like Bill says there are wheat, eggs and milk in chocolate cake: just as healthy as toast, fried eggs and milk in a glass, right? Sadly the baby had to adhere to her diet of Cheerios and yogurt (life just isn’t fair sometimes).

I was pretty confident that feeding my toddler yummy dessert food for breakfast wasn’t too bad. It was after I gave in to his insistence that he repeat the meal for lunch that I began to worry that I may be committing some kind of mommy-sin. After that I lost total control and ate cake for lunch myself. Thankfully we had an impromptu get-together with our small group of bestest friends: it was a great opportunity to get some of the irresistible chocolate goodness out of our house and into somebody else’s. If not for that I’m fairly certain that we would have been eating it for breakfast and lunch tomorrow too.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Check, Please!

When I wake up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth I generally lie there for a while trying to go back to sleep. Some of the time I succeed and other times I know that the only way to fall back into a peaceful slumber is to get up and quench my dehydrated tongue. We don’t keep a cup in the upstairs bathroom because the water in our town is undrinkable without first being filtered so I drag my stumbling feet out of bed and lumber along the hall and down the stairs into the kitchen.

I don’t generally have a problem weaving my way through the obstacle course made up of toys and baby gear in the dark thanks to the streetlight on our corner. But then, in the almost pitch blackness of four a.m., I open the refrigerator door and blind myself with the bright and glaring light that comes on in order to allow me to see the jugs of milk, the grapefruits and last week’s spaghetti that has been shoved into the back recesses of the bottom shelf.

Once the door to the fridge is swung shut I’m left with that bright spot across my field of vision that renders me completely blind and incapable of returning to my bed in the darkness in which I left it. So I turn on the some lights along the way in order to return to my bedroom in relative safety, without fear for life and limb, and wonder why I didn’t just turn on a light in the first place. I climb under the covers and snuggle down into my still-warm spot on the bed and speculate about how long it will be before I’m awakened again by my body in an urgent plea to relieve myself of the liquid I just put into it.

My husband and I went out to dinner last night for the first time since the baby has been born; she has been left with Nana a few times during the day so that I could go to doctors’ appointments, but she has never been left with anyone during the evening. Of course she decided not to take her late afternoon nap, so by the time seven o’clock rolled around she was starting to get pretty tuckered and cranky.

My poor sister is a trooper. We were gone for a little over two hours and the baby cried hysterically and inconsolably for the second hour that we were gone; my son obviously thought that his auntie didn’t have her hands full enough and he decided it would be a good time to try out some new, previously unused vocabulary. When his auntie told him not to jump off the arm of the couch he spread his arms wide and asked, “why not?” Ugh. I’m sure the next time my husband and I want to go out my sister will be busy shampooing her cat.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

Some days a person just really needs a good laugh, or at least something funny to smile at. My husband put a broken bicycle at the curb for garbage men to haul away today. After the big blue truck turned our corner the driver stuck his head out of the cab to take a look at the shiny bike while another of the guys wheeled the bicycle out into the street. It must not have looked broken because one of the burlier, brightly vested men decided he would try to take it for a spin; he rode the bike about three wobbly inches before he decided that there was a good reason for its being relegated to the curb. With a shrug of his shoulders he chucked it into the back of the truck.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Have Cape, Will Still Unravel

Just about two months ago I had a birthday. My Daddy and Grammy (my mom’s mom) put their heads together and made me a cape in honor of my blog’s title. Really, it’s a cape/lap blanket, which makes it not only fun but functional as well. The cape is swell and I think that it was a very creative and thoughtful gift.

It would seem that merely being the possessor of a cape does not equip a person with super-hero powers. I’m looking into taking a class titled “Capes and How to Use Them.” After having ownership of said cape for less than twenty-four hours a great and terrible sickness overcame my son and quickly conquered and pulverized the rest of us. Since then things have broken that I have been unable to repair, and my son is sick again and has a horrible viral rash that looks to be taking over his soft baby skin and turning it into something akin to red cauliflower. It’s dreadful.

I’m not the most computer savvy person out there. I finally learned how to move pictures from the digital camera to the computer. Previously this had been my husband’s job, but I thought it would be useful to know how to do it myself. I managed to find the USB cable and plug the camera into it; I even handled moving the images from the memory card into the picture program. That was as far as I got before I ran into some problems and became utterly confused. Confusion is not something that my brain understands very well and I flew into a panic and had to call my Dad for help. He was able to fix all of my troubles (he’s good at that) although I think he got a good dose of psychotic babbling from me in the interim. Alas, my cape failed me again: I could really use an instruction manual. Maybe I need the stretchy pants too…