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Throughout college, Michael worked as a volunteer fireman. The people he met there became more than friends, more than groomsmen. These guys became his brothers. At the center of this brotherhood there was P — the patriarch of the department, a member for something like 50 years. He was a grumpy old man, a curmudgeon — but that didn’t stop Michael from showing him respect and sitting at the table with him often to drink some coffee and shoot the breeze.

Yesterday, P lost his life from a freak accident at that very fire station. What followed was something I will never forget.

Word spread like wildfire that by the time he reached the hospital, his time was limited. Men of all ages — from college to mid-life — left work, left home, left their vacations, got military leave and even got on a plane from Afghanistan…to say their goodbyes. Over the years, P had touched so many lives — so many classes of men that walked through those department doors.

I was not at the hospital to witness this, but Michael said he had never seen anything like it. More than sixty men — many still in their work uniforms (varieties of police and fire) converged on the hospital. So many came to pay tribute to P, that the hospital gave them their very own conference room. Michael said there was not a dry eye in the house.

The sudden accident left everyone reeling. And put into perspective how precious life really is. I didn’t know P very well. We’ve said hello over the years and attended the same functions. While I mourn for his life, I hurt more for the wife and son he left behind. The ones that said goodbye as he walked out the door in the morning without a clue it would be the last time.

I cried yesterday. I cried for P and his family, I cried because I am so lucky to  have my husband come home to me.

I can only hope one day I will be so lucky to have so many people celebrate my life.

“…for life is short, but sweet for certain.”

I am a big, fat, freaking idiot.

I’m fair skinned. I freckle. If I want anything resembling a tan, it takes SPF 30 and many days in the sun. I’m diligent with my sunscreen use because I’m paranoid of skin cancer and check myself regularly to make sure none of my freckles look irregular.

And I always remind Michael to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days because, from experience, I know those can be some of the worst burns.

So when I went to the air show with friends yesterday, you think I would have followed by own advice.

But no, it was dark and cloudy and it didn’t even cross my mind to lotion up until the sun peeked out. And then I did. Thoroughly.

But it was too late.

And my chest and face and burnt. Badly. Enough that I spent the entire evening with a cold compress on my chest and feel a little nauseous this morning.

I am SO mad at myself. I am the poster child for sunburn prevention and yesterday I failed epically.

My face looks ridiculous. As does my chest. But really, my face. Ugh.

I’m hydrating and aloe-ing and am going back to bed because I feel like burnt toast.

Anyone know of any good home remedies for pain/peeling prevention? I’d prefer not to shed all over my friends and family.

If how he cares for Kodiak is any indication, Michael will be an amazing father one day.

(Don’t get too excited. I said one day. Not preggers yet, but the few of you who emailed me to ask if I was are super cute. The maternity clothes comment from the other day is nothing but super wishful thinking.)

The first night home with Kodiak after surgery is always tough. He’s drugged, he’s in pain, he can’t really walk and he’s huge, so it’s not like we can just pick him up and carry him around. As a matter of fact, if you could see the maneuvering it took for the two of us to get him out of the back of the SUV, you would laugh.

After his first surgery, I had to leave on a work trip so Michael was home alone with him for the first few days. Kodiak had a bad reaction to a pain patch (that we insist now is never used on him) and was sick — out of both ends — in the middle of the night. I give Michael a lot of credit for cleaning that up.

Now that a different pain medicine is used, Kodiak doesn’t get sick. But he does pace and whine/cry for almost 12 hours, trying to get comfortable and orient himself as the anesthesia wears off. It’s sad. To make it a little easier for him, Michael slept downstairs with him all night, ready if he needed the bathroom, something to eat, or just some love.

My husband is so ready, so available to jump at the first sign that Kodiak needs anything and the way he talks to him when he whimpers in pain is so touching. If he can stay up all night for the dog, he’ll be great when it’s a baby who needs him.

Not that I needed reassurance, but watching him last night gave me just that. My husband is pretty damn awesome and I?

So damn lucky.

- This post is late because we spent the morning driving to and from Hartford, CT (about 2 hours each way) to bring Kodiak back to the surgeon who has worked on his leg before. He hasn’t been using the leg to its fullest ability over the last few weeks and then after a romp on the beach this past weekend, he stopped using the leg all together and started hopping on the remaining three!

The surgeon just called to inform us that he has a lateral meniscus tear (in the knee) — an injury that is the only thing that could be left wrong in the leg and very rare. Of COURSE Kodiak tore it. The surgery (his 3rd!) is complete and my sleepy boy is recovering, waiting for us to pick him back up this afternoon. My evening will be spent hand feeding him carrots and yogurt — the only thing he will eat while doped up on pain meds, a combination I discovered by process of elimination after the first surgery.

- Thank you all for weighing in on the dress issue. For those who suggested I don’t wear anything form-fitting because I shouldn’t be taking attention away from the bride, thank you. You gave me a good laugh. I promise, I have good wedding ettiquette and wasn’t planning on wearing a spandex pantsuit. Michael just meant he likes things that flatter my shape a little more.

In the end, I returned the dress. Then I went out and bought a Calvin Klein cocktail dress instead. And then I tried it on for Michael, as well as my rehearsal dinner dress and huh, that one kind of looked better. The one I already own. So I guess I’m returning the second dress too. Go me.

- I grilled steak for dinner last night, something I don’t usually do. Today my stomach HATES ME for it and I always remember too late that even though it tastes good, red meat and my tummy don’t mix. If you’re interested in a little TMI, after a Google search, guess what I found out excess iron (like that in a steak) does to your, er, waste?

 It turns it forest green.

You’re welcome.

I have two weddings to go to this year and wanted something I could wear to both of them. I’ve tried on a bunch of maxi dresses in the past, but never really found one I liked until today. So I bought it. It’s simple, yet elegant, can be accessorized with fun things and isn’t skin tight so eating lots of appetizers? Yes, please.

I came home and tried it on for Michael, who likes it, but said that he thinks it’s not form fitting enough. He says I have awesome curves (aw, thanks babe) and I should show them off.

So now I’m confused. Should I look for something more form-flattering? Or do I chalk it up to men not really getting fashion and wear it anyway?

Here, you help:

009

Take this picture for what it is. I mean, it’s a terrible self portrait with unstyled morning frizzy, rainy day hair (because shockingly, it’s still raining here), and I attempted about 10 pictures and sadly, this was the best one. Try to visualize it in person going all the way to the floor.

So what do you think? To maxi dress, or not to maxi dress?

Since becoming unemployed, I’ve noticed my wardrobe has taken a turn for the…comfortable. Stacey and Clinton would be so mad at me. At last count, I had seven pairs of black stretchy yoga pants (four capri, three long) in my rotation. One for every day if you want to look at it that way.

I wear them around the house, to run errands, pop into Starbucks, then repurpose them for exercising before tossing them in the wash. All-purpose clothing, apparently.

I’m not proud of this shift, but if I don’t have a lot to do during the day, I just don’t see the point anymore in dressing to impress at the grocery store. The pants aren’t sloppy. They fit quite nice, actually. I bet you Michael would agree.

And it’s not like I’m wearing them out at night or to a party. Yet.

The only downside to this shift is that black yoga pants? Don’t go with heels. Although, they look super cute with fabulous flats so HA! Win again.

I just remembered, the count is actually at eight. I guess I have to count my black leggings (that I do NOT wear as pants) too.

I do miss the daily routine of dressing up for work. There was something satisfying and rewarding about pairing a cute skirt and top or tailored pants with high heels. Most of my closet is basically rendered useless to me most days as it’s filled with business casual and guess what? Unemployment means very infrequent clothes buying.

I know that eventually I’ll be able to put them back on, (or, you know, buy really cute maternity clothes instead. What?) so in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy my stretchy pants paradise and hope that I don’t run into the What Not to Wear crew at the grocery store.

This is totally depressing:

weather

I’m considering packing my bags and moving to anywhere the forecast does NOT look like this. Anyone want to offer their couch for a few days?

Dear Dan,

We don’t know you personally, but you’ve been so nice to us. It started back in October, when most of my family and a little of Michael’s took over the Hampton Inn during our wedding weekend. There were a lot of us. And they brought guitars. Which they played in your lobby late into the evening. You were great, working the evening shift at the desk and telling me the next day that it was a blast listening to the music and laughter fill your otherwise quiet night.

When I stepped out of the lobby in my wedding dress, there you were again. Did you work a double? You smiled at me, told me I looked great, and wished me luck.

The next night, as an exhausted and happily married couple stood in front of the “Welcome to the Hampton Inn: Our Last Name Wedding!” sign, laughing at how cheesy we were being (yet taking the picture anyway!), you ran over and removed the rest of the information on the sign so it would just be ours.

It’s been almost seven months since we’ve seen you, Dan, but you remembered us as we ran into your lobby at 11 p.m. last night with a request: can we please fax, oh, 15 pages, that have to be out before midnight?

“Of course!” you replied, telling us you remembered us from the wedding and asking how we were. Then you offered to fax everything yourself.

Dan, I don’t know your last name, but I know you’re a good person. Finding someone as courteous, helpful and cheerful (especially at 11 p.m.) as you is quite a feat. We are so appreciative of all the help you have given us, and I hope your boss reads the raving words I wrote about you on the “I caught this employee doing something great!” card that I filled to capacity.

Thank you, Dan, for all your help. There will be a card and a giftcard waiting for you at the desk tonight.

With gratitude,

Molly & Michael

The fabulous Emily (do you read her? You should be reading her. She makes me laugh so hard I almost pee. A lot.) posted Seven Quick Things yesterday and I thought it was just a great way to organize all the random stuff that’s been going on in my head that I’m stealing the idea. I probably won’t make you pee laughing, but you can go read Emily for that.

One. After 45 minutes of a busy signal, followed by one hour and 13 minutes on hold, I finally got through to someone at the Department of Labor and Training. She was pleasant (totally wasn’t expecting that) and helpful and the whole call took less than five minutes. (Five minutes. After two hours trying to get through. Five minutes.) The bad news — in order to get the extension, I had no choice to make that phone call. Unlike filing for your initial unemployment which you can do online, they really make you work for it the second time around. (Work for it. Ha. Work for not working.)

The good news — I got the extension! For many, many more weeks! Which means the anxiety that was starting to eat at the inside of my brain can go away.

Two. I cried when I saw pictures of Dooce’s new baby, Marlo. Not sobbing or anything, just an initial rush of emotion that both surprised me and didn’t surprise me at all.

Three.I have given up on the 30 Day Shred. I had really high hopes for it but by the third day of Level 2 I found myself bored and annoyed that I had to do another squat thrust. It probably didn’t help that Kodiak was apparently appalled that I was doing squat trusts and found it necessary to bark at me when I did them. Loudly.

The problem is, I’ve gained some weight over the last few months. I actually didn’t really notice it until some pictures were taken and all of the sudden I was like, oh, hello ARMS. So I stopped eating cereal at night. And I realized after I had alcohol four nights in a row due to various events that cutting out the booze would not be a bad thing.

And then I decided to go running. After not running for oh, seven years or so. I’ve run on treadmills and ellipticals, but have not gone for a real run since I was on the crew team in high school and the coach would follow us in his pickup truck yelling at us to run faster.

Surprisingly, the run wasn’t all that bad. Yes, I had to walk a few times, but I really ran. And when I got home I felt pretty damn good.

Four. Today my hips hurt like I’m 70 years old. This is what I get for deciding to run.

Five. I spent a fair amount of my time last week watching the first season of True Blood so I would be ready for the premier of season 2 last Sunday. I am so glad I did. If you liked Twilight you will LOVE True Blood. It’s vampires for adults. You are welcome.

Six.Out of curiosity, who is watching the Bonnie Hunt Show? I always see commercials for it and think, “really? Bonnie Hunt?”

Seven. I got a manicure with my friend last week and I found the perfect pink polish and waited my turn. When I got to the chair, I showed the woman the color and she exclaimed, “oh no! Your nails are perfect length for French manicure. I give you that.”

I could have said no, of course. But she was just so excited about my long nails and a French manicure does look pretty and all.

Well, it chipped in two days. So much for that. It did remind me a very funny video, though, were a woman keeps getting upgraded to more expensive things at the salon.

So, that last unemployment payment I was talking about? Was apparently yesterday. After I used the online claim system and answered all the required questions, I was notified by an overly-perky computerized woman that this was my FINAL payment and in order to try and get the extension, I would have to call the Department of Labor and Training.

As of right now, I’ve had 45 minutes of a busy signal, finally got through to the menu and have now been on hold for 25 minutes and 54…55…56…seconds.

I’m pretty sure I’ve memorized the Voice of Unemployment after six months of calling in. He sounds like he’s in his mid-40s or so and wishes he was doing anything but the recordings that slowly drain the hope from people like me. If I ever heard his voice in public, it would probably trigger some repressed rage and I would jump on him screaming “45 minutes of JUST A BUSY SIGNAL!!!!”

Every 10 seconds or so he informs me that all agents are busy and my call will be answered in the order it was received. I’m pretty sure all the agents are just drinking coffee and catching up on their weekend while their call light flashes over and over again.

After this lovely morning, I better get the extension!

To pass the time, I’m watching A Baby Story and omigod, you guys. Last night I watched a new show on MTV — 16 and Pregnant — and was horrified. Horrified! The girl profiled was riding a dirt bike with just weeks before her due date, her belly all huge and bouncing on the back of her boyfriend’s bike and I wanted to jump through the screen, grab her and say “Stop it! You are SHAKING THE BABY!”

Then she had the baby and named it Bentley. Like the car.

33 minutes on hold…

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