B.S.U.R.

 

Several weeks ago, on the heels of what could only be described as an epic breakdown of emotional cohesion (Jessie’s), I calmly (and I believed kindly) reminded her that any decision she made surrounding her gender identity was fine by me.  I care not whether she is a boy, a girl or a Martian.  I care only that she (or he or it) is comfortable in her (or his or its) own skin.  I thought I was being a loving and supportive mom.  Well, yesterday I learned otherwise.

During our monthly visit to the GeMS (Gender Management Services) Clinic, I had a private and not all together easy conversation with the psychiatrist with whom we have been working.  Already privy to the exchange I just referred to, he pointed out to me that my words, despite being nothing but well-intentioned, were actually kinda, sorta, in a way well, bad.  Aw, crap.

In telling Jessie that she can “make any decision” she wants I was not, as I set out to do, freeing her.  No, by suggesting to her that it is a “decision” to be consciously made I was, in actuality, putting undo pressure on her.

This is not a decision.  This is an “is”. 

Had I said, “You can be a boy, a girl or a Martian” I would not be writing now, rather I would be polishing my mother of the year award.  But, alas, instead, I am ruminating over the (now obvious) error in my words and trying not to feel shitty about it.

I’ve often written of the ambiguity and amorphous nature of gender non-conformity.  I have not, however, always been able to appreciate how it feels from Jessie’s point of view.  I have tried to, but as someone who has never grappled, even briefly, with either my gender or sexual identity, I admit that putting myself in her shoes has not come naturally.  I have struggled, actually, with imaging having my girl parts yet living my life as a man.  I admit: I cannot imagine it…for me.  My identity as a girl has never occurred to me, actually…and I say that as a person who is more psychologically aware than the average bear.  This is intense stuff, more powerful than you, me or any “decision”.

When your child, or anyone that you love with every fiber of your being is struggling, the inclination is to try to fix things, make things right or, if we are being honest: make things go away.  It is truly brutal when you can do none of those things which is, unfortunately, the situation in which I find myself now.  It is not a decision for Jessie (and certainly not for me) as to how she proceeds on her life’s path.  She cannot lie in bed, stare at the ceiling for a few hours in thought and emerge with clarity.  It just ain’t gonna happen.

This is not a decision.  It is an “is”.

In some instances, an “is” is preferable to a decision (said the indecisive one).  In this case, it is neither good nor bad (most days).  It just is.  The true challenge is to find peace with the whatever “is” we have resting on our shoulders and from here forward, I will do my damnedest to encourage Jessie to be who she is – be it a boy, a girl or a Martian.

This is not a decision.  It is an “is”.

 

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I Made A Good Choice (at least according to Jess)

Jess has a propensity for fixating on things. She will get an idea, need, thought or desire in her head and lord help anyone within a five-mile radius who might have some capability of making said idea, need, thought or desire happen and she will perseverate until she either gets her way or has reduced someone (usually me) to tears.  I have no idea where she got this habit (said the carrier of the trait) but it can be very tiresome.

Prior to her transition, the begging often centered around dolls.  She would see an ad for a cheerleader doll or a Barbie doll or a hooker doll and simply have to have it, no matter who got hurt in the process.  I tried like hell to stand my ground and refuse the acquisition, but admit to being beaten into submission more than once.  (Okay, many more times than once as is evidenced by the vast doll collection at my house.)  It always became bigger than her and I could almost see her losing sight of what it was she even wanted having gotten so caught up in the hysteria.  It was at once sad and infuriating.  Until I learned to walk away.

As I told you a few days ago, a recent episode lead me right into the hands of the local Starbucks for what would become a two-hour run away.  I warned her that I was nearing saturation of my nerves and, when she did not let up, I simply left.  (Okay, I might have slammed the door on my way out, just for dramatic emphasis, but…) It was good for both of us.  Really.

Fast forward to last night.  It was a cold, rainy/snowy, crappy evening.  Jess was perfectly content playing on “Our World” (a web game she likes) when she noticed that if she had more (virtual) gems, she could buy more (virtual) crap and all I had to do was lay out some (real) money.  Not surprisingly, I declined the offer.  Even less surprising was her taking my denial as an invitation to start making deals, offers and pinky promises that would assure me, if I laid out the credit card, of her never asking for anything ever again.  Yeah, cuz that works.

We got into the whole back and forth for a few moments before I stopped it all in its tracks and calmly told her that if she continued with this line of conversation (for lack of a better word) I was going to have to leave the house.  Secretly hoping that the threat would suffice, I sat back and was arrogant enough to think, if even for a nanosecond, that she was going to back down.  But, no.

“Ya know what, mom?  That is probably a good idea” she shot back, with just a trace of disgust.

Damn.  Okay, then.  All about the follow through, I, with the same calm as the initial threat, walked toward the door, slipped on the closest Uggs, grabbed my phone and keys and out I went into the cold, wet night air.  (I will admit to consciously thinking that, among other irritations from this encounter,  this weather was going to do bad things to my hair.  What? Is that bad?)

I turned on the car, was assaulted by the sounds of  my new favorite CD: http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Grace-Version-Paloma-Faith/dp/B0096YP8DU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1363975772&sr=1-1&keywords=paloma+faith – a fantastic album which somehow gets into my soul and makes me a better person…if only temporarily) and threw it into reverse having no idea where I was headed, but feeling just a little bit proud of myself for not further engaging in the mishegas* that was happening at home.

I drove around the neighborhood, noticing a “sale pending” sign outside a friend’s house (didn’t know she was moving), a discrepancy in snow levels among streets and the fact that all the  other cars around me seemed to have a destination, while I had none.  I made a few phone calls and pulled over for a few texts.  About thirty minutes passed before I realized that my shoulders had dropped back down to their proper space and that it might just be safe to go back home.

I hit the “Home” speed dial on the Bluetooth knowing that it would be clear from the way she answered the phone whether it was safe to go back.  The first time I tried, the stinker let me go to voicemail.  My second attempt, a few seconds later, yielded a friendly “hello” on the other end.  No pussyfooting around, I came out and asked her if it was cool for me to come back home.

“Yeah.  I am calm now.  But not gonna promise that I won’t ask about it again, but I promise not to tonight.”

I was down with that.  So home I went where she greeted me in the kitchen with a hug and a smile and said,

“That was a good choice, mom.”

Just another reason I love that kid.

*For the non-Yiddush speakers out there: mishegas is best described as silly insanity – the crap we all have to deal with that is silly and insane all at the same time.

I’ll Keep My Stuff, Thank You

I originally wrote and posted this entry two years ago (almost to the day) on my original blog which has long since been retired.  I re-read it on  this snowy (sort of) afternoon and felt as though it deserved a new audience.   I remember the night you are about to read about clearly. More importantly, even with all that has happened in my life since I first posted this,  the sentiment remains the same.  (Note: at the time I knew not of George’s desire to be Jessie.  I have left her in here as George because, at the time, that is who she was.)

My mother has often told me (usually when I am candidly – or perhaps hysterically – discussing an issue belonging to one or another of the members of my household) that if one were to sit around a table and everyone tossed their “stuff” in the middle, you’d still want your own. While I have always appreciated the sentiment, I recently discovered, quite literally, just how true it is.

(Full disclosure: in the interest of not alienating my friends and relations, I am taking some creative liberties and changing names and extraneous information which, should I reveal,  would defeat the purpose of having changed the names in the first place.  That said, all “stuff” is real.)

Recently I broke bread with a group of seven kind, well-adjusted, successful adults.  Among the guests, who ranged in age from mid 40′s to late 50′s, were a lawyer, three/four business owners and a high-ranking business professional.  (And me, but whatever.)  As the evening unfolded, and the wine flowed, it was proposed by one person at the table, I’ll call him Edgar, that we go around the table and each lay one of our “issues” (or “stuff”) out on the table for public consumption.  Okay, with the intimate crowd (some more so than others) and the Pinot on board… let the games begin.

It’s beginnings were fairly benign.  With a fork held so that the tines served as a makeshift microphone, Edgar made a comment about his mother.  (Sidebar: why does it always come back to the mother?!  Can we not catch a break?  Are we not doing the best we can…geez. ) With that, Francois shared a diagnosis one of his children had just received (note: child is doing great) and onto Lillian who shared a different diagnosis for one of her children (again, it’s all under control).  Next came Collin who, being a bit more reserved (and a bit less boozed up) commented that one of his kids can be really difficult. Really, really difficult.  I came next and likely made some comment about Georgie.  Okay, I definitely made a comment about Georgie.  (Clearly I am the only one who cannot be granted anonymity here!)  Moving on, Petulia, just getting into the rhythm went the kid route, too.  (What, it is okay to complain about your mother but not your kid?)  The last two participants, Schlomo and Harriet, having no children got caught off guard and passed…this turn, anyway.

Then things got interesting.  Here are just a few of the issues people dumped, er, tossed onto the table…

1. Anorexic child

2. Autistic child

3. “I communicate with my father through my cousin”

4. “I have a tattoo that no one know about” (which is when the speaker and one other guest at the table (gasp) revealed their tattoos.)

5. “My orgasms aren’t nearly as good as my partner’s”

6. “When my child was in the hospital (with cancer) I couldn’t stop thinking about the hot nurse”

7. “I lost $250k on a bad business deal”

8. “I always feel like the least attractive person in the room.”

9. “I hate my cat”  (okay, that is pretty obviously me, but it took courage to announce that to an animal loving crowd.  Baby steps…)

10. “My father loved me but had no expectations of me” and, in the same vein, “the last thing my father said to me before he died was, “make sure you cover the boat”.”

11. “I wish I hadn’t changed my name when I got married.  Twenty years ago.” (okay, that’s me, too, what…I’m not entitled to a midlife crisis like everyone else?)

This went on for hours.  No one was holding back and no one was judging.  It was cathartic, funny, depressing and uplifting all at once.  Each announcement was more personal than the one prior.  The thirst for more wine was surpassed only by the thirst for sharing/purging one’s stuff.  Out of respect for Edgar, Francois, Lillian, Collin, Petulia, Schlomo and Harriet I will refrain from sharing more details (but trust me, some of them were juicy) but will also say this: my mother was right…if one were to sit around a table and everyone threw their “stuff” in the middle, you’d still want your own.  I know I (kinda) do (most of the time).

Update: If I were to be a part of this exercise today, my admissions, complaints, concerns, successes and failures would go beyond hating my cat.  Of that I am certain.  

Can’t We All Just Pee in Peace?

Many of you have likely read about a transgender child named Coy Mathis who lives in Colorado.  Her case has been getting a great deal of press, most recently in this article in The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/us/in-colorado-a-legal-dispute-over-transgender-rights.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&smid=fb-nytimes&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1363642218-qLO0nNFjO1pqP8FoanZBig

Coy is a transgirl (has transitioned from boy to girl) and the primary issue of a law suit filed by her parents is their desire that Coy be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom at her school.  The school has made available both the nurse’s bathroom as well as a gender neutral facility elsewhere in the school.  Her parents, however, have “angrily” removed Coy from the school and are in the midst of filing a discrimination law suit, not to mention garnering plenty of media attention in the process.  I get it. It is admirable to support your child in this situation.  It can be a bitch to support your child in this situation…I know as I am doing it myself.  I do not, however, happen to agree with the Mathises on this particular issue.

Not surprisingly, the bathroom discussion has come up innumerable times with Jessie and her school administrators.  She, too, has been instructed to use either the nurse’s or a staff/gender neutral bathroom.  Yes, she has requested (again, innumerable times) that she be allowed to use the girls’ room.  It has been I, at the end of the day, who has vetoed that request.  And, I might note, Jessie has not pushed back.  I might even be so bold as to suggest that she is a bit relieved at having been denied.

Of course I want Jessie to be as integrated and accepted in the community as everybody else.  I want her to feel comfortable and happy both socially and emotionally.  I want her to pee in peace.  I also know that the one (maybe two) time she uses the “special” facilities in the course of a school day is in no way impeding her success or growth.  In fact, it is probably improving both.

All kids are special and different in some way (admittedly, some more than others) and while they should all be afforded the opportunity to be true to themselves (no matter how that is defined) it is simply impossible, unreasonable and a little bit insane to suggest that each be catered to for whatever their particular need may be; particularly when it is certain to have an impact of some sort or another on so many other people.  Let me remind you: I say this as the parent (as rabid as the next) of a transgender child.

That’s right.  I don’t want Jessie using the girls’ bathroom at school right now.  I have been a girl and remember well enough that far more than quick piddles and occasional poos take place in the restroom in a given day.  Any pecking order that exists in the hallways is on steroids in the bathrooms.  It is an easy place to be bullied or, frankly, be a bully.  My daughter has a penis and to think that such a reality will never come to bear within the confines of the bathroom is to be ignorant.

I would like to say that if I were a parent and learned that there was a transgender child in my kid’s class that I wouldn’t think twice about it…but that would be untrue.  I would like to say that it is of no consequence…but it is.  I would like to believe that I wouldn’t somehow, on some level, judge the family…but I probably would.  And I am pretty sure that I would not want my child (who is, in this scenario, a classmate of a transgender child and not the transgender child) put in any potentially awkward situations.  There, I said it.

Of course I want Jessie to be as much a part of the community and culture of the girls in the fifth grade as possible.  I also want every other girl in there to be afforded the opportunity to pee in peace, too, and if that translates to Jessie having to make a once (or, again, maybe twice) daily trip to the bathroom earmarked for her use; so be it.

Let there be no misunderstanding: I appreciate where the Mathis family is coming from.  I respect their desire to keep their child as whole as possible during a transitional period which is difficult at best.  My disagreeing with their position does not translate to not applauding their support of their child.

Take a Walk

My Facebook status from earlier this afternoon:

Going got tough at the house…so I am now keeping a chair warm with an afternoon tea— at Starbucks.

I posted it at about 5:15 and did not return to the confines of my home for a full two hours.  It was not my original intent.  In fact, before I left, I gave Jessie the option (which I was forced to snap at her hastily in the split second during which she took a breath in order to have the lung capacity to continue yelling at me) to either take a walk or I was going to.  She, with no hesitation, told me that it was I who should take a walk.  (“Yeah, maybe you should go” were her exact words.) I agreed,  pulled my boots back on and headed out the door.  Fortunately I had my wits about me enough to grab a few bucks as I walked out the door (with just a trace of a dramatic flair) with plans to purchase a cup of tea at the nearby Starbuck’s and return home: ten minutes round trip.

Once I got into the café, however, and was assaulted by the intoxicating smell of coffee and good-looking, yet tasteless baked goods, I knew I had no choice but to warm the big leather chair by the front window…even if just for a moment.  I remained in my scarf and jacket feeling only slightly bitter about the draft seeping in through the glass, holding my hot cup of tea up to my cheek the way my mother always does.  I then prayed for calm.

It was just one of those weeks.  I like to blame it on the time change, but I am unsure as to the factuality of that.*  I have been alternatively giddy, content, sad, angry, overwhelmed, energetic, exhausted, hopeful and resigned.  I have changed moods on a less than hourly basis.  So, too, has my youngest child.  (Harrison, on the other hand, has been steady as he goes all week.)  I cannot even put my finger on it, but Jessie’s flip out earlier (over something too benign, ridiculous and irritating to even mention) escalated quickly, in part because I was in no mood to sit back and observe a steady ascent so might have gotten a bit feistier a bit more quickly than normal.  It is a discussion (and I use that term extremely loosely) which we have had innumerable times (in the past three days, that is) and the conclusion she desired was simply an impossibility.  In anticipation of the energy I knew it would require talking her off the ledge, I got my back up more quickly than usual.  And then I had to walk away.

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As the hot tea began to warm my body, I consciously adjusted my breathing and commenced to people watching.  I quickly grew bored but knew that returning home was not an option yet.  So, like any warm-blooded middle-aged woman in the same situation would, I hopped onto Facebook and updated my status, secretly hoping that some of my local peeps would come to my rescue and, if nothing else, share in a late afternoon tea.  Alas, they were all doing what people normally do at that hour: shuttling the kids, or making dinner, or driving home from work and not, as I was, doing Yoga breathing amid coffee beans and tea leaves.

I have learned to adjust to the fact that my life has changed a lot in the past year or so.  I went from being a married mom of two boys, to a separated mom of one boy and one girl.  I cut my long hair and (briefly) let the gray grow in.  I started a new job while giving up Diet Coke and coffee.**  And I learned to go take a walk when the going gets tough.

*I am not even sure that factuality is a word, but it works.  So there.

**Full disclosure: At the beginning of the year I decided that I was going to give up Diet Coke, coffee and booze.  Oh, well.

The Warrior Worrier

This morning on NPR they were discussing a new finding that indicates a correlation between the length of your fingers (the difference between the ring and index, to be more precise) and its translation to your tendencies to live your life as either a worrier or a warrior.  According to their research, if your ring finger is longer than your index finger, you are a warrior.  As the panelists were talking, I absolutely removed my hand from the steering wheel to assess my finger length.  After admiring my manicure and noting to myself that I could use some moisturizer, I was immediately perplexed.  As it turns out, I am a warrior.

Only I am not.

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Yes, my ring finger is longer than my index finger.  By quite a bit, actually.  I even made sure to check the other hand to see if they were consistent which, not surprisingly, they were.  But, I know myself pretty well and would argue (as would most of my most intimate acquaintances) that I am solidly a worrier.  In fact, there are people in my life (RRL and MLS, I am talking to you) who have given me the moniker “pre-worrier”.  You see, I don’t just worry, I worry about things that maybe, possibly, if the stars are aligned and in a particular sun, could happen.  Most of them never do, yet I still worry.

On the other hand, big things are a breeze for me.  My mother often grumbles (with a bit more than an air of irritation) about my unique ability to sail through monumental things like a bi-lateral mastectomy, but freak out if my hair isn’t cooperating.  I can handle (with a fair degree of aplomb) notifying my entire community that my son would heretofore be my daughter, but when some bitch who normally registers nothing on my radar of people I give a crap about looks at me sideways I am in a puddle.  Sounds more like a worrier than a warrior to me.

According to dictionary.com, a warrior is a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage or aggressiveness.   Oh, well, if you put it that way…perhaps I am part warrior.  Color me confused.

But I have long owned (embraced, even) the realities of being a worrier…and a hardcore worrier at that.  I have more full-fledged, certified panic attacks under my belt than I care to remember.   I like knowing that I have a Xanax available, should the need arise and I have spent countless hours obsessing over the infinite “what ifs” of the world, with little positive outcome.  I fret over the minutiae of life and constantly weigh myself down with unnecessary anxiety.  Given those actualities, you, too, would consider me a worrier.

However, that whole longer-ring-finger phenomenon must be based on some kind of fact – it was on NPR, after all.   Add to that dictionary.com’s definition and, well, a pattern is emerging.  I have shown vigor, courage and, most certainly, aggressiveness in my lifetime.  I have, in fact, exhibited each of those characteristics on more than one occasion, and sometimes all at the same time.  I am fairly certain that many on the outside looking in on our story as it unfolds would call me a warrior, if, for no other reason than my having gone wide with what many would consider a very personal adventure.  As the ride continues its ascent (or are we on a descent?) I am, with slightly more regularity, embracing my inner warrior and telling the worrier to pound sand.  This does not, in any way, shape or form, solidify my warrior status, though.

Which got me to thinking…and looking at my hands.  Perhaps the fact that my index finger and its neighbor the ring finger lean in towards one another suggests a cosmic pull between my inner worrier/warrior.  (Or it could be early arthritis.)  And maybe there is some sort of meaning attached to the fact that I have enormous hands.  (Or I might just have inherited them from my mother who, in turn, got them from her father.)  And perhaps there is a study going on, at this very moment, looking at the significance of long nail beds versus short nail beds.  Regardless, it is not lost on me that when you say “worrier” or “warrior” quickly, they are nearly indiscernible.  And maybe, just maybe, that means more than any research may seek to prove.  And perhaps I am a new breed: a warrior worrier.

Tire Pressure

It all began yesterday.  As I pulled the car out of the driveway, I noticed that the “tire pressure” light was illuminated.  Since it was a cold morning, I went on the assumption that the tires had shrunk (or had they swelled?) and further assumed that the light would go off just as soon as the tires got their groove back.  I went about my day, only cursorily checking to see if any of the tires were blatantly flat (they were not) and considering that I might want to bring it into the dealer given the fact that the last time the light came on it was due to a nail in my tire.  By the time I had this thought, however, it was moments before I was due to collect Jess from school and take her to an appointment.  So, I ignored the light.  The damage was done, however…I was worrying about the damned tires.

Well sonofabitch if the light wasn’t on again this morning.  It became evident that waiting for the temperature to change and restarting the car (what? it works with computers!) were not going to darken the light, so I decided that I would swing by the dealership and have them take a look.

I drive what is considered to be a luxury car and, as such, the dealership is very fancy.  I drove in unannounced and was immediately attended to.  When I say attended to, I mean I was escorted out of my car and over to my personal consultant for a quick assessment of the issue.  From there, I headed to the waiting room where there is a full kitchen, stocked with breakfast, lunch and dinner items, bottles of water, coffee and juices for every taste.  (In fact, I happened to arrive just around noon at which time a bevy of sandwich options were put out for consumption.  I didn’t act quickly enough and missed what was truly akin to feeding time at the zoo.)  I settled in with my Words With Friends, surrounded by the newest “People Magazine” (which I certainly would have read had I not done so yesterday while at the gym), and today’s “Wall Street Journal” and “New York Times.”  It was downright relaxing, actually.

One of the words I played in WWF was “denim.”  It was then that I remembered that I was just a block away from Target and that Jess has outgrown all her jeans, and that we could use toilet paper, oh, and milk and that they might even have this year’s bathing suits out for Jess (that is always fun) and, well, I just had to get to Target.

Shortly thereafter, my consultant (Joe? or maybe it was Jim?) came out to tell me that I indeed had another nail in a different tire than last time and that they were in the process of plugging it.  We just needed to let them finish and then wash the car (another perk of driving a nice car) and I would be on my way.  $21.50 later, I was out the door, headed to Target.

I walked into the store and was assaulted by the display of bikinis and tanks just waiting to be donned poolside.  “Good,” I sort of thought to myself, “I can grab a few new suits for Jess.”  I worked my way further in to the girl’s department: something I am holding onto tight…Jess is really about to outsize the department, but the leap one must take to segue from “girls” to “juniors” department is a bit too much just yet.  (Aside: I count my blessings that I am no longer expected to fit into the little suits that are supposed to pass for swim wear these days.)   This year, in a step up from last, they had cute little quick dry shorts complete with compression shorts underneath which peek out, looking adorable.  I am quite sure this was not the designer’s intent, but they are pretty much the perfect bathing suit bottom for a transgirl!  This might not be so bad.

I moved toward the jeans department (which, arguably, is an easier item than a swim suit) and was a little bit horrified.  Most of the jeans (in the girls’ department, let me remind you) were either super skinny, super low-rise, super tight or super ugly (sparkles and jeans are a big fail in my book). I rummaged through the piles and debated which size and which super fit to buy.  One size looked just a little too snug but the next size up was twice as large.  Crap.  This exercise was becoming increasingly stressful and I really needed to find some jeans…what to do?  And then, in what might well have been a moment of insanity, I meandered over to the boys’ department: a place I’ve not dared to venture in over a year.  I perused their jeans and immediately noted that they looked much more likely to fit Jess’s body than any of the others I had reluctantly dropped in my cart. (Well, duh.) After a deep breath, and some quick soul-searching, I tossed a few pair in the cart with the anxiety that only the parent of a transgender kid can know.  She might flip out.  Then again, she might not care, and just be happy to have a pair of jeans that fit comfortably.  I just don’t know.

As I wiped the thin layer of perspiration that had settled on my upper lip (my sweat spot of choice) I briskly left the clothing area and headed toward the frozen foods to gather a few Key Lime Pies for Harrison.  Something for everyone.

I checked out with only one impulse item (a lip gloss) but a fire in my belly.  I suddenly felt needy and anxious.  I felt the relief of not having to buy a new tire as profoundly as I worried about my jeans decision.  I grappled with whether Jess would appreciate the jeans, regardless of who they were made for, or would she interpret my having purchased a pair from the boys’ department as somehow passive aggressive.  Was it passive aggressive?  Does she know what passive aggressive means?  Welcome to my world.

What is a girl to do in this situation?  I was stressed, despite having taken care of the two things which needed to be attended to.  I even remembered to buy milk, for crying out loud!  I was knotted up with the knowledge that I might have managed to create a potentially volatile situation.  I was feeling the sweat bead up on my upper lip again.  I needed to fix this somehow.  So I went shoe shopping.

I didn’t mean to, really.  I had good intentions of just heading home and taking care of some things there.  But somehow, I wound up trolling the never-ending aisles of DSW which, in and of itself would make me happy, but even more so when I recalled that $10 off coupon burning a hole in my wallet.  I could turn this around.  And I did.

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It is still too cold in these parts to wear them, but soon enough it will be warm and they will come out of hiding.  Knowing that they are at the ready gives me peace and strength to deal with whatever reaction Jess will have upon discovering her new jeans.  Never underestimate the power of a new pair of shoes.