Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Too Busy for Blogging

Since my last blog we've just been too busy for blogging. The boys and I hit the Keys again, this time staying in Duck Key at a duplex on the water. We went fishing, swimming, boating, and the boys even snorkeled out in the ocean for the first time. We got back at 3:30 AM because I had a county commission meeting the next morning and then the next day my brother came into town for almost a week. We even squeezed in an all female roller derby event that was highlighted by the BYOB family atmosphere and watching half the girls in the parking lot at halftime drinking more then I could. Kurt just left yesterday and I'm exhausted.

Before I forget some of the last blog comments were some of my favorites to date like bungee jumping, Hope for the tiny ta-tas, enjoying the journey more (great advice) and not just seeking the ultimate destination, dreams about us not flushing enough, and a quote from the Hoff about blowing his own mind. You guys are the best and I can't believe I missed his birthday. Where are my freaking priorities!?!

I regressed some since the last blog as I believe I was trying to run away again, do too much to be able to think, and all the while pulling my kids through it at the same time. Don't get me wrong, they're doing great, but they also need some down time with Dad at the house without 100 things going on. So since Kurt left and for the most part the rest of the summer that is ending on 10 August for us, we're huddling down together and taking it easy. We watched a movie and ate popcorn last night, swam and read books tonight, and maybe we'll catch up on those bible studies tomorrow night since my brother would not let me do so when he was visiting. Nathan has zoo camp this week and is loving it so far.

Reese got into the VPK class at Nathan's school so that should be much easier on me next year. I'm interviewing a nanny tomorrow that if all goes well after surviving my mom's and office manager's screening process will begin helping us when school starts back up. The kids will have more consistency, I don't have to pay much more then the two aftercare programs I was paying for, she cooks, cleans a little like helping to pick up things, but most importantly and the final sale for me is that she'll do laundry! No more matching socks at 2 AM or restarting the dryer 14 times to keep things from being wrinkled but then forgetting and starting all over again.

It's late and I have to get some sleep or I'll fall asleep tomorrow during the interview and will probably negotiate a $100/hour salary in my dreams for the nanny. However, I was honored recently by the hospice that took care of my family to write our story so that they could share it as part of their fundraiser for a new hospice house. If you've read previous blogs you know we're fortunate enough to be part of the engineering team on the project, and were involved even before we had experienced the non-profit hospice. Since then I cannot do enough to help them because of the amazing support they provide families through donations. Unfortunately my business has become not for profit too lately but at least projects like this one and a few others make it feel good. They will be sending it out in over 20,000 letters. If we can help even one more person make a donation that would be incredible. Hope already had the most donations ever for any one person. Anyway, for those of you interested in reading what I put together I cut and paste it as follows (sorry for the loss of your evening if you do take the time to read it) and I would appreciate any feedback, suggestions, criticisms, etc you may have especially from Tina and Anna, my two favorite english/speech teachers:

HOPE for Hospice

The moment pierced my soul like no other in my short life to date. It was everything I had HOPED for, feared, prayed for, and the beauty of the moment made all of the previous months’ pain and suffering disappear because we had together, like everything we accomplished the previous twenty years together, finally achieved ultimate serenity for the love of my life. HOPE was the birth name of my two young boys’ mother. They are only four and seven, and learning the toughest life lesson through their own young eyes. To understand how we got to the moment, we have to step back in time like a Wayne’s World sketch to six weeks earlier…doo, doo, do; doo doo do; doo doo do; as the screen gets all fuzzy from my tears as much as the SNL special effects.

It was Thanksgiving weekend 2008, six months after her last surgery, and all she could do was let me carry her limp body out to the swing on the front porch to feel the sunshine for a few moments. HOPE had beaten cancer three times already, once after each child’s birth, and a third time going through a surgery that removed half of her tongue. Multiple chemos and radiation, 15 surgeries, more drugs then Johnny Depp in Blow, and combining holistic remedies such as acupuncture became normal. Throughout all of this she embraced the battles with the spirit of a warrior that made Rocky Balboa look like a pansy. The torture she put her body through to be with her children and I made the Saw movies seem like they were playing the kids game Operation.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we are back in the ER where we had spent many nights before but this time my confidence and determination was vanishing although I could not let on to HOPE. The doctor pulled me out from behind the curtain unlike any previous visit and before they could say a word my eyes focused on the scan with the white wall behind it as I had become by necessity fluent in doctorese. My eyes stared it down like when I bought the “x-ray” glasses from the back of the comic book to see through clothes (I think the internet has put them out of business now).

As they started to talk I did not hear a word, I did not have to. I could see Snoopy (we named cancer Snoopy because who doesn’t feel good when they think about Snoopy?) enveloping itself all around what was left of her tongue, neck and throat. There would not be any more surgeries and treatments in her life, the warrior was defeated, the toughest person I ever met did not have to fight anymore after seven years, and I had to tell her six hours before her 36th birthday. When I walked back behind the curtain instead of seeing the Wizard of Oz like I had hoped, her sky blue eyes stared into mine and she just nodded because she already knew. HOPE always knew her body best and in her words she did not want to ruin her favorite holiday Thanksgiving. We just started talking about the future of our children and me without the love of our lives in it anymore.

Soon thereafter, the confident take on the world person I had become to get my family through this was overwhelmed with decisions including the children, my own decade old business, the house she had always kept immaculately, so many medical bills it felt like a clown car at the circus every time I opened the mailbox, handling family and friends updates, and my only true desire was to spend every moment with my wife and children. I felt like a puppy dog trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Then the nurse told me someone was coming downstairs from hospice, and I remember with the clarity of the time my first child was born, the conversation we had in the makeshift conference room that was normally the nurse manager’s office.

Suddenly we had a place to go that was not another hospital room, where they did not have nurses with too many patients, they didn’t have the world’s most uncomfortable fold you up like a pretzel leatheresque chair for me to sleep on, they had an individual room, a place for visitors to sit comfortably when she was not up for company, a kitchenette for me as I practically lived there, a place for my children to play during their visits, and most importantly more love from people that started as strangers but instantly became closer to us then family and friends we had known our entire lives. They were treating only her discomfort for the first time, and she was generally comfortable which we had not enjoyed in over six months. Hospice worked with us for weeks to get HOPE home for Christmas and it actually happened just a few days before the holiday.

Mommy was home the days leading up to Christmas, and we knew it was our last together as a family in the flesh. They had nurses stay with us part time, they taught me to administer all of her drugs when she needed them, and even fix her tracheotomy if it popped out which did happen once at 3 AM. They took care of every detail, visited all the time, the hospice doctor made house calls, they brought every supply we could possibly need, let her stay in her own bed, and my boys had mommy home until Christmas Eve. She had regressed too much and late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve so with only one phone call, everyone was back leaving their own families to help mine on the holiest of holidays to bring HOPE back to the hospice. Not one complaint, just welcome back with more smiles and love then I had seen at any family reunion except maybe the Happy Days reunion show when I realized for the first time Fonzi was short and not so tough compared to my memories.

We made hospice our home for two more weeks through the holidays and all they did was make my wife, my children, my family and friends, and me comfortable every moment of every day at all hours. My children did not survive; they thrived through all of this because of hospice. I will always be grateful to the strangers that almost instantly became family (and not normal family, the ones you like to be around). That takes me back to THE moment…

My love had not opened her eyes in days, her breathing was sparse at best, cancer was taking over her organs, her face was so swollen she looked like Peter Griffin on Family Guy, I was holding her hand, rubbing her head and hair as she was looking beautiful after the hospice family had cleaned her up just a couple of hours earlier, and praying and begging HOPE to let her body go. Suddenly she moved her head to look at me, opened her sky blue eyes one last time, she smiled like the day we married, and then escaped her failing body.

HOPE’s spirit is soaring and even though our love is not here in the flesh, her story can help so many others with your assistance. Hospice is building a new house just down the road from the one that became my family’s sanctuary. My wife had cancer four times in seven years with no history in the family and she did not drink or use tobacco. She’s the only woman I knew that didn’t have to make any changes to her eating/drinking when she got pregnant except for the endless nights of pizza we endured during the first trimester. I only mention that because anyone’s life can all change in a moment no matter how they live it. Our entire experience through all of this can be followed via our blog at hopeforthetatas.blogspot.com (HOPE started the blog and named it for the record). I never had any idea what hospice was until the most overwhelming moment in my life. I still go back and visit our hospice family six months after her death and am doing everything possible to help them help other families. I am reliving the most painful time in my life to reach out to you in hopes you will give HOPE to other families in need by donating to the Wuesthoff Hospice House project. My children and I will always have HOPE with us and we will always be grateful to our hospice family.

Monday, July 13, 2009


As I'm sure everyone knows that reads my blog (previously Hope's blog that I took over only because she could not do it anymore and then ultimately it became my own sanctuary and best mental support that I did not have to pay for) that I put myself out there all the time. I type out my personal feelings about every aspect of what I have and am going through. I also because of who I am have always been joking around at the same time. Anyone that knows me well knows I don't ever put LOL or smiley faces sideways because I've always felt if you know me, you know when I'm joking and when I'm serious. If you can't tell, get to know me better then. And of course, the ridiculous cup size comments were a complete joke. I know my limitations, I'm not the best looking guy, not the biggest guy, not the smartest guy, not the richest guy, not the easiest guy and the list can go on and on.

However, I might be the most compassionate and/or passionate guy about every aspect of my life as I don't do anything half way. I'm either 110% in, or not at all in anything I do. If I say I'm going to do something it either happens or I kill myself trying to make it happen. I am lonely, I am looking for what I used to have, I do HOPE to find love again, I do HOPE to find someone to share my passions with, and I understand I am only 6 months removed from one of the toughest life events that is imaginable. I am trying to improve every day, but every day is a struggle. It's well past midnight, I should be trying to catch up on some sleep, yet I find myself once again struggling even though I can't pinpoint why. Man-Marie called me tonight before I had a chance to even get home from an overnight work trip and read the blog comments laughing because two anonymous commenters were fighting back and forth between each other. Of course she did not help by jumping into the fray, but if you know her and love her that's just Man-marie.

I don't mind anyone flirting via blog comments (especially since they are anonymous I can imagine they have junk in the trunk, the ability to make-up for other inadequacies ((I have plenty of my own as I've previously blogged about so I know how that feels)), if anonymous number one is actually silicone Cindy from the Keys ((of course cup size does not matter except in Cindy's case as I've never been more mesmerized by meaningless conversation)), or if like we say to everyone that owns a Corvette (sorry about your penis --- with the exception of my brother-in-law John of course) we try to overcompensate in other ways. In the end, I hope that like me nobody takes any of it too seriously. Give me shit all you want, flirt a little, enjoy the fucking moment because that's what Hope would have told you and did tell me over and over again (maybe not exactly in those terms as she was always more eloquent). She enjoyed every moment that we were together, we had the ultimate life together for as long as we were able, I miss her every day but admittedly less every day, I hurt every day but less each day now, and we all have to be able to move on. I'm not there yet but getting closer with each moment. I will always love Hope, my boys will always come first, but I hope to find love again to share my life with some one (although you will have to put up with a lot and have a sense of humor about yourself above all else).

One more thought I've shared with a few close friends, I am done with the love thing dammit. I only want to marry for money from here on out because the love thing is too hard and who wouldn't want to retire at age 36? I was in Amelia Island today looking at multi-million dollar condos and single family homes inspecting a suspect drainage system thinking this could be me if I play my cards right. I even walked down to the pool and beach seeing if I could spot the future Mrs. Wise but they just thought I was a lawn boy so that didn't go over as well as I'd hoped. The boys don't need a good stepmom, they need a good nanny and butler. A Durango won't do when a Land Rover or Lexus convertible SUV is available (I think I made up that vehicle).

I'm finally getting my priorities right, so if Anonymous number 1 is serious please show me how you make up for cup size with the almighty dollar assuming that's what you meant (and not other functions that by the way are more important then money --- jokes again, okay only sort of). I am lonely and therefore easily turned on, but I am also realistic and doing better every day with priorities. I am not perfect, I am happy to point out my many faults, I am comfortable with them, I will continue to point them out to anyone that will listen to me talk or read my blogs, but the hardest thing right now is that I'm lonely and not comfortable with that yet. I wish I was, I HOPE time will heal that, but I'm just not sure right now. I normally am confident in everything I do, but it's just not there right now. I have to be comfortable with that aspect of myself before I can be ready to share with others. I know that's the case and I'm frustrated I'm not doing better with it.

Those of you that regularly read the blog know I have been searching for "it" again and I can't fucking find "it"!!! I know it's there, just out of reach, I feel it sometimes but then I have a setback, I drink too much when I shouldn't, I do something with the kids I regret or even worse don't do something I regret, I buy enough groceries to cook for a week but then end up going out to dinner almost every night, I let my emotions get the best of me, I squash my emotions too much sometimes, and if anyone that sees me on a regular basis knows that I tear up often but hold it all back when maybe I should just let it all out (my psycho calls it the weepy period). I don't think anyone wants to see that, so I don't let it happen except when I'm alone. Maybe that's setting me back, maybe that's normal, maybe there is no normal in my case, maybe I worry about the wrong things, and maybe it's all just what has to be to get better with time.

I'm still figuring it all out in this journey of one, but Wow, I never thought I'd have two anonymous women fighting over what is right and wrong for me (or Hope) or our blog. It started as just a joke, like when I used to always type Just Jake at the end of my blogs. Hope was Hope, amazing, eloquent, even more passionate than me, etc. so I was always Just Jake compared to her and since we used the same e-mail and blog I didn't want anyone confusing her words with mine. She has done more good since her passing for us all and I think will continue to do so as long as all of you remember her. The 3 wisemen will not forget, she was the queen of Wow!, and I hope to some day find it again in somebody else that I can share my life with.

In the meantime, please don't anyone take all of this too seriously and find your passion and love for whatever it is you feel strongly about. Mine is two young boys and one bigger boy trying to heal. That is my passion and I hope to find the Wow! again down the road in something and some one else. I am going to bed alone again tonight, if anonymous numbers one or two have anything more to offer to help with that then a cup size please let me know. Figuratively speaking I am a freakishly small triple A bra size that needs to be special ordered, and am wowed I can even drum up some interest right now. Focus on the positive whether it's BJ's, money, or just the ability raise the ire of others through typing words, find your passion and jump in 110%. I will continue to do so until I find "it" again.

- Just Jake.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hope Visited Me Again

Last night a regular blog reader that I'll let remain anonymous for now drunk dialed and texted me last night around 2:30 AM. We talked for a while and had a really great conversation. You get to know people's more honest feelings when their guard is down so please know I'm normally up and love the drunk dial. The drunk text is okay but then there's evidence the next day and anyone with political aspirations needs plausible deniability. In fact, that's pretty much been the credo of our government over the last oh let's say 5 or 6 decades. I've been known for drunk dialing myself and the voicemails you leave behind are almost always hilarious. My personal favorite to me was again a regular blog reader that was driving around lost in a parking garage, hiccupping like crazy so half of it was not comprehensible, with the "I love you's" flying out faster then the Michael Jackson tributes (which once again really bothers me how much we don't appreciate someone until they are gone. Over the last decade plus a whole generation only knew Michael was a freak and child molester and nothing about his amzing music and two plus decades of being "it" in music. I still have people e-mail or tell me really cool things that Hope did that still affects their lives. She knows now but never knew when she was alive what a profound affect she had on almost everyone that crossed her path. I'm just as guilty as anyone when it comes to Michael, but not with my family. I told Hope, my grandmother, and my grandfather all the time how much I love them and how much they impacted my life. Those are the 3 closest people in my life I have lost, and I tell my Mom, my brother, and most importantly my kids the same thing all the time. If you're not, make sure it's not too late when you get around to it. OK I'm done with my diatribe on that --- you just never know what's going to come out of these things).

Back to the drunk dial, I had trouble getting to sleep after our conversation and was in that oh yeah I think I'm finally falling asleep state or maybe I already am asleep state when Hope visited me for the second time. The last time was on 8 June (yes I remember the date) and this is just over one month later. All of a sudden she was just there, standing right next to me. She was wearing an all white T-shirt and khaki shorts, no shoes and her hair down like it almost always was. She was 100% healthy, smiling, and at first glance into her eyes the white part was red like blood, but then she blinked once and they were white as I gazed into her mesmerizing blue eyes. I could not hear her voice orally, but I could in my head which was strange. She smiled and told me she loved me and thought I was doing really well. I asked her without talking as well if she was happy and she said she was. It felt like we were standing next to each other for 15 minutes but I think it was only a few seconds. I just kept staring at her and tried to hold her hand but could not. She smiled at me again, told me everything was really good, and then she was just gone. It made my heart just glow and this incredibly calm and relaxed feeling over my entire body like I just finished a massage or well, er, had been otherwise satisfied.

Then I woke up this morning and felt so lonely. I ached because I wanted her to be next to me in bed and the loneliness was just overwhelming. This is a feeling I've had in the past, especially at night after I tuck the kids in bed. Early on after she passed I still used to think she was in the back room and it would kill me when I realized she wasn't. I don't feel like that anymore thank goodness but after her visit last night my heart absolutely aches right now. I laid in bed over an hour after Nathan woke me up to ask if he could watch TV. Amazingly Reese is still sleeping, something both boys have needed since our trip to NE. I am becoming more comfortable being alone and I think with time that will continue to improve. Certain things just hit me like a Papelbon fastball whether it's a memory induced by a song, a smell, something the kids say, or something else. Other items bounce off and don't hurt too much like a Wakefield knuckleball. All of it adds up and just sometimes it all comes out at once.

Now back to reality, the dryer is buzzing at me over Spongebob and Nathan playing the harmonica. I need to go wake up Reese, get everyone to basketball while I pick up ice cream sandwiches for the kids on the way, hurry back home for lunch and then off to a pool birthday party both kids are going to (by the way the family's last name for the party is Supernau, which got me thinking to changing my name to Superwise, Studwise, Jedijake for the boys, Superjake, etc. --- kind of like McLovin in Superbad an all-time classic), and then I'm on standby for a phone call to leave the party early because my brother from Mass, his wife and two kids are in town and are coming to our house for more pool party and dinner tonight. A typical slow day for the 3 Wisemen, and tomorrow I am off to Amelia Island with a co-worker for a site inspection and early morning meeting on Monday. Amelia Island is the place Hope and I went after her first recovery from cancer when Nathan was only 10 months old. We loved it up there so I'm sure this trip will stir up some memories too. We celebrated her recovery from cancer 3 times over 6 years, I just wish we could have done it one more time last year. That wasn't in the cards, so now we celebrate every day like it's our last as much as we can. In the meantime I still have to fold laundry, damn laundry! I've been doing my own laundry (except when Hope did it) since I was about 12 or 13 years old but it's such a pain to do it for the three of us.

I've got much more to blog about but that will have to be it for this morning as I have to keep those kiddos first above all else. Thanks for haunting me again Hope as you promised, I love you like water (chocolate and Oprah). And Ann-Marie, Hope and I will both be at your grandfather's funeral next week. It would be too hard for me to go alone...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy 8th of July

It's past 1 AM and I just got home from New England over a long weekend with family. It was a quick trip to Lake Sebago on Thursday/Friday (by the way we got to meet and I know I'm screwing up some of these names, Chippy the Chipmunk, Rocky the Raccoon, Squeaky the Squirrel, Morris the Moose, and Pauletta the prostitute), my family's farm (the largest family run farm in New England I'm told which by the way has the coolest ever hedge maze (labyrinth) for adults, kids maze in the barn with three levels, petting zoo, great volleyball, a bouncey house that adults can go in --- I had so much fun in there as the kids tried to tackle me, the largest labyrinth in North America is currently growing so stay tuned, and a lumpy croquet course that I kicked some serious ass on --- just for the record I had a huge advantage because I grew up playing on a much worse course with my grandparents that had roots everywhere, moss, and a huge hill that went straight to the Assabet River) in Stow, Mass on Saturday, back to Maine in South Berwick for a pool party (Brad and Rachel's new pool at least to me makes my old grandparents' house a resort instead of just their legacy)/camp out (at Aunt Renie's and Uncle Bruces after a bonfire, music, swimming, flying on a rope swing with a harness, and so much more) on Sunday/Monday, the beach all day Monday (I swam 3 times on this trip, at Lake Sebago in frigid waters, in Rach's/Brad's pool at 71 degrees with the coolest diving board ever (if you haven't seen my half-ass flips you're missing out on some serious entertainment), and finally but most stupidly the ocean as my body went blue and I cramped up from the cold, and delayed flights home Tuesday to get us here past midnight.

The kids did not sleep at all on the flight or drive home until less than 2 miles from my house, so I will pay holy hell tomorrow for that one. Why is it they always sleep when you don't want them to but never sleep when you think and count on them to? And of course it's never just one of them, they both have to stay awake just to torture me that much more tomorrow. I guarantee they will wake up normal time even though they went to bed almost 4 hours late. Reese was so sweet though as we got off the plane asking, "Can we go back to Maine tomorrow?"

We had such an incredible time, great weather for the majority of the trip, and stories to tell. Right now my dinner consists of Triscuits and red wine, so at least I'm taking care of myself. And if you were worried about the boys don't be, they had mini-Oreo cookies thanks to my neighbors on the flight home along with hot chocolate for the Natedog and Sprite for Pieces. For the record I normally give them balanced meals like hot dogs with potato chips (note that many argue potatoes are a vegetable including Hope on many occasions) or my all-time favorite mac and cheese with hot dogs (you can see they get a variety of balanced meals).

Back to the trip, I did not mention it on my last blog because I decided announcing to the world when my house is empty might not be the smartest thing I've ever done. We have an alarm (which my neighbors found out the hard way on this trip --- by the way the police are fingerprinting the place now Beth so I'd suggest a one-way trip for a while anywhere away from here) and the police have shown up a couple of times with guns blazing from a lighting strike once and a door that blew open to the garage another time. I have so much respect for the police for the way they put their lives on the line every day for strangers, except of course when they're giving me a speeding ticket. I'm a civil engineer (with a huge blog just to remind the ladies --- which reminds me of something else, based on some comments and e-mails I've received please know I'm only joking about my emphasis on breast size, in all of my research and training about breast cancer (and I take that very seriously) it's not the size that matters at all. In fact one anonymous commenter (who are you by the way because although I appreciate the love you showed me you have terrible taste in men obviously???) was kind enough to tell me that smaller cups make up for it on other ways (I think they were talking about balanced meals again) so please know it was just a joke. At the beach though this weekend in Maine I saw more white skin and men needing a manzere (I'm sure that's not even close on the spelling) or bro then I hope I ever have to see again. For the record, New Englanders are not known for their tans!!! It certainly wasn't the clothing optional pool in the Keys.

I can't comment on manzere's and bro's without commenting on Seinfeld, how many times in a day do you quote that show? If it's not doube dipping, man hands, no soup for you, serenity now, shrinkage (by the way I experienced this like crazy in the freezing cold waters with my scared turtle), master of my domain (you know I can't pass that one up, I would be the first one out every time), stopping short, Terri Hatcher in an unforgettable episode when she says they're real and they're incredible, Newman taking rainy days off when Jerry points it's the first one in the postman's oath, the produce section of the market is very seductive with a lot of squeezing of melons and shapes and smelling, becoming jewish just to make the jokes, taking a vow of abstinence (George) because there was probably a good chance he was not going to have a sex again anyway, yada yada yada, being a rabid anti-dentite (against dentists), spongeworthy, and so many more.

Back to being a civil engineer and tickets, we know roads are designed to be safely driven at higher speeds then posted so we should be able to honor our design criteria (i.e. back off on the tix coppers). I know I always go off on tangents when typing these things but that's just how my screwed up psychy (that's probably not a real word) works. In fact, Ann-Marie told me after the last blog she was exhausted because she said it was just one run-on sentence that never stopped (I know it's horrifying to Tina and Anna, but at least Tina's entertained while Anna my newfound brother just thinks english is my third language). The only other language I know at all is Spanish but that's only the dirty words that PR taught me over 10 years ago at my first job out of school. We may not have got much work done, but man we had a good time and those words stuck with me.

We had a sweet Volvo rental car and every time we approached a sudden hill I would slow down and then floor it so the kids' stomachs would drop like on a roller coaster. I found out my cousin B enjoyed this exeprerience so much when he was young he said thank you dad for tickling my testicles. I don't know about the rest of you but in my opinion you never grow out of wanting your testicles ticked, just not by dad in the car! I learned one of my relatives is going through depression too like Hope did and I've had my moments, she's finally going to psycho appointments too with incredible improvements because of them. I think everyone should go to a psycho, but that would probably shut down our already almost useless health system. I say that as a small business owner, the health care costs are freaking killing me!

I got to spend time with my Aunt K who is my grammy's sister. Grammy and I were closer then any other relative I have, so it was great to see and visit with her on the 4th. We are both doing well but missing Grammy. I visited her grave site along with Gramp on the 4th too, and I know both of them including Hope were with us the entire day and weekend. I got to see my cousin D's house, my cousin's R's yoga studio, my aunt L's new home, my sort of cousin like 13 times removed but it wouldn't stick P&D's house, and three growing belly's along with the flattest belly you ever saw from another cousin about to have a new baby. If I tried to explain my family on the blog you would feel like you did at the end of the last episode of the Sopranos. It's impossible to do but amazingly we all get along incredibly well and get togethers while they don't drum up any dates for me (which is legal in Maine with blood relatives --- by the way the only states that Maine gets to make fun of are are TN and WV as I think that was of the amendments to the Constitution) always a blast.

Three cousins or otherwise close relatives are pregnant with one 100% due to Hope (no she did get her pregnant through some miracle of science or lesbian fantasy but they did decide to have a baby and possibly consumated while down here helping us through the toughest of times with their youngest being 10 years old already) and the flat bellied one is my cousin that hopefully will be picking up her new baby Maeve in China in the next couple of weeks. One is due on Hope's birthday too, how cool would that be? That leaves three designated drivers so my three cousins are living it up like it's 1999 (anytime you can quote a Prince song you're having a good day --- actually I think he's a genius singer/songwriter but really I only like Purple Rain's album cover to cover. What in the world happened to the woman the played Appollonia (I think that was her real name too if memory serves)? She was absolutely gorgeous but never to be heard from again as far as I know.)

We had the best time up there, the kids loved every moment of it. They are so tired from being up late each night and playing all day every day but with smiles the entire time. A special thanks to all of our relatives up north for a whirlwind few days and while it killed us to miss so many more relatives we'll hopefully make up for it on the next trip. There's just not enough hours in the day to catch up with everyone as much as we might want to. Happy 8th of July and welcome back to 110% humidity and mosquitoes large enough to carry off Reese. I'm going to start sweating now because I have to open up the door to the outside at it's almost 2 AM...