Monday, November 30, 2009

From the mailbag.

So, I get a lot of e-mail from you people.

A lot of it is hate mail--people taking time out of their day to let me know all the ways I should die, that I'm an idiot, that I should have my kids taken away... fun stuff like that. A little of it is fan mail (thank you for not wishing I'd get cancer/AIDS/in a horrific car accident and die).

And then there are the questions. Those are my favorites. Today I'm going to answer a few.


If someone else at the Y had a blog and you were one of the "crazies" they wrote about, what would your nickname be?

I gave this one a lot of thought as I worked out this morning. I think my nickname would be "The Mouth Breather." Because, umm, I'm a mouth breather. I have to really concentrate on keeping my mouth closed. I'm sure at any given moment if you were to see me while I was exercising, my mouth would be agape and my tongue would be slightly out. We call it Turcotte Tongue in my family--I'm far from being the only one in my gene pool afflicted by this. It's not pretty, but we can't seem to help it.



How does it feel to be thin?

I don't know. I still feel completely fat, and I probably always will. Sad but true.



How can you be happy about having three Christmas trees when there are families who will not have one?

We (and by "we" I mean my husband) have worked hard over the years to be able to afford little extras like three Christmas trees. I have no qualms about enjoying the things we've earned in life just because others do without. Do you feel guilty when you get dressed and eat breakfast each day? We do our part to help those less fortunate.

And let's face it--one of those trees cost less than a carton of cigarettes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Full of Holiday Awesomeness

First, two things:

1. Will and I got engaged 13 years ago yesterday. I was supposed to be working at ShopKo but I totally called in sick (yes, I worked in retail and called in sick on Black Friday. I know.) to hang out with him and ended up engaged. I would have written about it, but I wanted to see if he remembered. He didn't.

In his defense, he did remember the year he was deployed and sent me roses, causing my sister great bouts of envy.

2. We were on a family bike ride this morning and I was pulling Liam and Amelia in the trailer. This is a conversation that took place between them as we rode:
(First I guess you should know that they are obsessed with The Jackson Five Christmas songs and Liam was singing one).
Amelia: The old Michael Jackson was a brown boy but the new Michael Jackson is a white girl.
Liam: Yeah. Let's play Michael Jackson and I'll be the brown boy Michael Jackson and you can be the white girl Michael Jackson.
Amelia: O.K.!

It's moments like that that keep me from selling them all on the black market.

So anyway, I told you that I set up my Christmas tree on Thursday. Will casually mentioned that we should get a small tree for the kids to decorate since I'm kind of anal about how my tree is decorated.

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday (which, by the way, causes me to worry about the future of the new and oh-so convenient location six short minutes from my house. It was 11 am on Black Friday and the store was completely dead. The cashiers were waiting for people to get in line.) and they had 6 foot, pre-lit trees on sale for $15 and they were buy one get one free (Why they had Christmas trees buy one get one free, I don't know).

So, umm, I bought two.

The kids decorated the one on the left with home made paper ornaments. And, O.K., I prettied it up with some oversized ball ornaments and ribbons. I just couldn't help myself. My kids are talented, but they're no Martha Stewart (except for Ben, who will probably follow in her footsteps to white-collar prison someday).

It kind of looks like Christmas threw up in my house, but I love it. It's my personal Christmas wonderland.

And check out the mantle. I've waited 34 years to have a mantle at Christmas.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh no. No no no no no.

Internets, I'm heartbroken.

I collect Christmas ornaments. I have them from all the countries I've visited, beautiful handmade ones, ones that were given to me as a child, "Baby's First Christmas" ones for all of my kids...lots of special ornaments. Lots of them that are irreplaceable.

Last night I set up the tree and was decorating. When I got through hanging all the ornaments I realized that two of my particularly special ornaments were missing--a hand blown Murano Glass ball from Venice, Italy and a beautiful 14 K gold dipped maple leaf from Canada.

They're gone. I sent Will back up to the attic to see if there was a box he missed, but no.

I have a horrible feeling that maybe they somehow got thrown away last year when I packed up the decorations.

I feel sick.

Let me know if you see them around anywhere.

I know they're just Christmas ornaments, and I have a few that I would be even more upset about losing, but I really loved those ornaments.

What a sucky way to start the season.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Morning Confessions: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving, internets! I hope you're eating more than you should and enjoying your friends and/or family. And if you're not American, I still hope you're eating more than you should and enjoying your friends and/or family.

Instead of my usual random confessions, today I'm going to share ten things I'm thankful for.

1. Carbs. I ate pumpkin pie and cranberry jelly today, and they were good.
2. My friends. Even the ones who move away three days before Thanksgiving.
3. Army Dining Facility Thanksgiving buffets. All we could eat, obscene amounts of food my family would never get at home for Thanksgiving (like shrimp cocktail, a giant ice sculpture full of fresh fruit, a roasted pig, five kinds of dessert, three kinds of roasted meat in addition to turkey, I could go on...) and I don't have to clean up or deal with the leftovers.
4. The dollar aisle at Target.
5. Giant soaking tubs and yummy smelling bubble bath.
6. Battlestar Galactica DVDs (We're so watching "The Plan" later tonight.)
7. Crazy people who frequent the Y.
8. The smell of Tide and Snuggle.
9. My gas fireplace.
10. The internet.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole.

Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of the "Mister Grinch" song?

I think I need to start using some of those insults in my daily life.

Hate mail author: "Brandi, your blog sucks. I wish you'd get AIDS and die!" (An actual e-mail, by the way)
Me: "Yeah? Well you're a dirty jockey and you drive a crooked horse!"

Or to the idiot with an overflowing shopping cart in the self check out lane who can't figure out how to work it: "You've got garlic in your soul."

It'd make me feel better.

In other news, I officially became an officer's wife 17 minutes ago. Also? Will will be home in 10 hours. Yay me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My day has officially been made.

I got home from the Y and running errands to find these in my inbox from Sylwia.
They need to be shared with the rest of you.

I'm pretty sure this one was revenge for that one time I photoshopped devil horns onto her picture.

That's more like it.

Also? These pictures solidify my belief that I looked way better when I had longer hair.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stupid Army.

I hate the army today.

Obviously there are good things about the army--things that greatly benefit our family--or we wouldn't still be in it after 10 years.

But today I hate it. A lot.

It made my favorite friend move to the opposite side of the country this morning. And my husband is still gone.

I won't lie--I was crying like a big baby all the way to the Y.

This whole moving every few years, and your friends also moving every few years (and usually not at the same time that you move) thing is highly unpleasant.

Stupid, stupid army.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cheater cheater, pumpkin eater.

Looking at pictures like this from when he was a sweet baby is really the only thing keeping Ben alive tonight.

So, Ben has once again left me furious and speechless.

Tonight I noticed he had a pair of pajamas shoved in his toy box. I yanked them out with the intention of making him put them where they belong when a huge wad of $5 bills came flying out of them.

Fourteen $5 bills, to be exact.

These definitely didn't belong to him. He earns $3 a week, and that's if he does all of his chores. Usually it's closer to $2 a week.

I finally got him to confess where he'd gotten it from.

You see, our county fair was a couple of weeks ago. And the 4H program was really pushing the kids to enter something in the fair.

So, Ben smuggled in a quilt that his grandmother--who is pretty much a professional seamstress-- had sewn for him and entered it. You know, as his own work.

And he won.

I mean, of course he won. It was a professionally made quilt going up against sewing projects actually sewn by 5th graders.

So, I spent the evening on the phone with his teacher and the 4H director trying to figure out what we could do about this. As mad as I was (and am) at Ben, I'm more concerned about the poor kid who came in second place. Some 5th grader out there in our county actually put in a lot of effort and got shafted because Ben has officially joined the Dark Side.

Hopefully it will work out that the money (of which $12 is still missing, by the way) can be given to the 2nd place entry. In addition, Ben will be writing so many apology letters to so many people that he'll have carpal tunnel before Christmas.

But here's the real kicker. When I asked him why he would do such a thing, he said, "I know college is really expensive and I thought I could take the burden off you and dad by earning money."

Somebody give this kid an Oscar.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Team Jacob.

So, last night was The Night. The big midnight premier of The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

We arrived at the theater around 9:00 pm for a 12:30 am showing. There were surprisingly few screaming teenage girls. Which, of course, means that the crowd of 2000 people was mainly comprised of adult women who should know better and gay guys who think Edward is so dreamy.

Pretty sure this guy was on Team Jacob.


After a few hours of waiting and eating and talking and eating and talking, oh--and waiting, it was time for the movie to start. There was much screaming and swooning by middle aged women, and snide comments galore by Sylwia (by the way, that really is the only way to enjoy a Twilight Saga movie--sitting next to Sylwia).

So, here's my review of the movie. Please note, I haven't read the book, so my opinion is based purely on the big screen version. And there will probably be spoilers if that sort of thing is even possible with these movies.

1. Edward is still a controlling douchebag, even from long distance.

2. Bella is only capable of dating men who could kill her in the blink of an eye, and who like to constantly remind her of that fact while paradoxically telling her they only want to protect her.

3. Eric is so gay.

4. Poor Bella still has Parkinson's disease. Somebody get Michael J. Fox to Forks ASAP. The girl needs some help.

5. Edward makes the same pained facial expression every time he kisses Bella as he does when he's getting his trash kicked by the Voltari.

We met a few Voltari of our own at the theater. Seriously people. Stop it.

6. If you get motion sickness, you might want to look away as Bella falls into her three month depression (in which she apparently doesn't leave her bedroom or shower or change clothes).

7. The wolves need better attire. The whole cut offs and no shirt look was downright laughable (and for those of us who hadn't read the book, it was highly distracting. The movie doesn't tell you that he inexplicably takes time to tie his pants around his ankle when faced with deadly vampires).

8. Bella's fetal position-primal screaming made me laugh hysterically.

9. Jacob (post shearing) was so hot I'm pretty sure I now need to register as a sex offender. So, umm, how soon will Taylor Lautner be 18?

10. Edward still has something seriously wrong with his face. I didn't think it was possible, but he was even less attractive in this movie.

11. The producer apparently blew the whole budget on sparkles because the CGI wolves were cheese-tastic.

12. I like Dakota Fanning when she plays evil.

13. Sylwia and I cheered when it appeared Bella had drowned. Imagine our disappointment when she lived.

14. After reading Twilight and watching this movie, I'm convinced that Stephenie Meyer hates women.

15. I'd watch a whole movie about Alice.

"Dude, I can't believe you all paid $11 to see this crap."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lunchtime Poll Topic #19

Don't panic--it's not Friday yet. I'm doing the LTPT today because tomorrow I know I'll want to share my The Twilight Saga: New Moon experience with you. (I don't know why, but I get a kick out of calling it by its full title. The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Ha! Maybe because, like the movies and the books, the title takes itself way too seriously.)


I had a friend call me yesterday to ask my opinion about this topic. She's about to have her first boy and isn't sure which decision to make. So, I'm opening it up to all of you to offer your opinions on the subject. And men? I know you're out there reading (even though you only seem to comment when I talk about sex), and I'd really, really like your opinions on this one.

Circumcision: Did you or would you circumcise your male children?
Why or why not?

Obviously there are religious factors if you're Jewish or Muslim that would affect your decision. But for those whom religion isn't a factor in the decision, would you?

I did, twice, and if I ever had another boy (heaven forbid) I would do it again. There are a lot of reasons we made the decision to do it.
1. There are fewer instances of urinary tract infections in the first several months of life.
2. I know of several men who have had to be circumcised as adults for medical reasons and they all wish it had been done when they were infants.
3. Hygiene. I have to bug my boys to keep their hands and faces clean. I really didn't want to add under the foreskin to the list.
4. Right or wrong, it's more socially acceptable in the U.S. to be circumcised. They're going to change in front of other boys in the locker room--why open them up to ridicule over the state of their penis?

And really, the only reason not to that I was able to find is that is unnecessary. I agree. It was unnecessary, but I think the reasons we chose to do it made it a good choice for elective surgery.

My tummy tuck and boobs will be unnecessary as well, but that's not going to stop me from getting them done.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear John.

Why do you make it so hard to hate you?

You're a buttmunch. That's a term I reserve for you and you alone. That, and douchewad. And you deserve to be called those names. You know it. I know it. Pretty much every woman in the world knows it.

But then you go and put out a fabulous album. Really, really fabulous. The whole thing. There's not a song I'd want to skip.

And then there's that whole being cornea-searing hot thing.

It makes me temporarily forget that I hate you.

But I do--I hate you.

But you know, if you're ever in the area, call me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What I did for love...

I think I should wear this Thursday night.

I'm going to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

I'm going to see it at midnight the night it opens.

I bought my ticket in advance.

I'm going to stand in line for two hours to see this monstrosity, errr, movie.

I'm going to miss Project Runway in so that I can stand in line for two hours to see it.

I'm going to miss the season frakkin' finale of Project Runway to wait in line to see this movie.

I haven't even read the book because Twilight made me want to injure myself.

So, friends, if this isn't love and selflessness I don't know what is.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Smartest kid ever.

This picture has nothing to do with the post, but I wanted it on record that this is how Amelia has looked for the past four days. I'm ready to slip a Midol into her milk to see if it helps.

So, I've noticed lately that Amelia has been calling all of her dolls her sisters. I asked her why she was their sister and not their mommy.

Her answer: "Because mommies have too much work and have to wash poop. Sisters are just for playing with and having fun. No poop."

She's a fast learner.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bad Girls' Book Club: The Time Traveler's Wife

O.K., so I'm being totally lazy and just stealing the discussion questions from Also, I never got a chance to re-read the book, so my recollection is a little too fuzzy to come up with any good questions of my own.

As always, feel free to add your own questions in the comments.

  1. Why do you think Niffenegger used the title The Time Traveler's Wife instead of just The Time Traveler?
  2. The story is sometimes told by Clare, sometimes by Henry. Did you like how it was organized? How did their different perspectives help you understand their love?
  3. For Clare, there is always a sense of waiting. Discuss the different ways she is waiting throughout the story. What roles do longing, anticipation and absence play?
  4. Who is your favorite character?
  5. How does their desire for a child affect their relationship?
  6. Do you believe Alba will have a better life than Henry? How is her perspective on time travel different than his?
  7. How is their relationship changed by the fact that they experience events at different times--I.E. Clare experiences in her childhood what Henry will not experience for decades?
  8. Is this story fatalistic?
  9. Do you agree with Henry's rule of keeping the future a secret from himself so he can live as normal a life as possible? Discuss the times that he breaks this rule and whether you think those are good decisions.
  10. Did you like the ending?
I have not seen the movie. However, based on a conversation with Sylwia who has seen the movie but not read the book, the movie sounds different from the book in some key areas. In other words, this is a discussion about the book. If you've only seen the movie you're welcome to participate, but you'll be talking about something completely different in many ways. If you've seen the movie and read the book, feel free to fill us in on the major differences.

I only have time to answer one of these questions at the moment. It's one that Sylwia and I talked about yesterday. Why did the author call the book The Time Traveler's Wife and not The Time Traveler? Because this story was about her. Yes, it was about Henry, and Henry was the main character, but this was Clare's story. Also, as Sylwia pointed out to me, what did Henry contribute to their relationship? In all honesty, I had to answer, "not much."

There's more I want to answer, so I'll be back later in the comments.

O.K., I have to run for awhile. Happy discussing!

Don't forget--our next discussion will be in January and it will be on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lunchtime Poll Topic #18

Before I get to today's LTPT, I want to apologize for being a lame blogger this week. I've been sick and haven't really had the energy to think of anything remotely interesting to say. If I were you, I wouldn't expect too much over the weekend either (except we will have our Time Traveler's Wife discussion tomorrow. Don't forget!)

Anyway, in honor of the date today, here's today's LTPT:

Are you superstitious? If yes, how so?

I have to say, I'm really not. Black cats and broken mirrors don't phase me. I don't have a pair of lucky socks. As close as I've come is when I used to go play Bingo with my grandmother. I had some good luck charms that I'd set out. They never worked. I never stood a chance against the chain smoking old ladies who played 50 Bingo cards at once.

So, how about you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Listen, it gets COLD in Utah.

Internets, it's time for a good deed or two.

Sue over at Navel Gazing at its Finest is holding a virtual clothing drive for the 100 Coats for Kids Project in Salt Lake City (and a giveaway, too, so check it out).

There are a large number of refugee children in the Salt Lake area who are from war torn areas of Africa and Asia. This year is their first experience with cold weather, and they do not have adequate winter clothing.

A lot of you reading this are from that area--you know how cold it gets. For those of you reading this who have never been in that area in winter, go fill your bath tub with ice, get naked, and sit yourself in the ice for an hour or two.

So here's what you can do.

You can go online and purchase a new child or teen sized coat and have it shipped directly to the refugee center (address below), or if you're in the SLC area you can bring new or VERY GENTLY used coats and winter clothing directly to the center.

Here's the address:
Gayane Manukyan
Att: 100 Coats for Kids Project
Refugee Center at AAU
1588 South Major Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115

If you decide to donate, go ahead and let Sue know (at the link back at the start of the post) so she can update the number that have been collected so far.

Thanks, internets. You're all awesome.

Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?

I totally rocked the pinstriped jeans in 1983.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guest blogger. Sort of.

Hey internets. I've got a day ahead of me. A no-time-for-blogging-but-I-feel-bad-if-you-made-the-effort-to-come-here-and-there's-nothing-new-to-read kind of day.

Luckily for me, Natasha wrote a post today that could have come straight out of my own head (except hers is more well written than mine would have been).

So, clicky here for a thoughtful read.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Knockers. Ta-tas. Melons. Bazooms. Boobies. Lady-pillows. Fun bags. Rack. Head lights. The Girls. Or, you know, breasts.

Whatever it is you call them, I'm gonna get some in February (barring any unforeseen financial crisis). I might even go ahead and get my tummy tuck then, too, depending on how much it will cost. Or there's the slight possibility that I may only get the tummy tuck and not the boobs. The military insurance is being difficult about elective plastic surgery these days and may never pay for the tummy tuck, so I may have to pay for it out of my own pocket, in which case I would opt for the tummy tuck over the boobs.

But for now, I'm looking on the bright side and planning on the boobs.

I asked Will if I should go bigger or just perkier.
His response: "What do you think about Salma Hayek's? Are they too big?"



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Please note!

Just because your aged balsamic vinegar and your Torani chocolate syrup happen to be in the same cupboard, and happen to be in nearly identical bottles, does not mean that they are interchangeable in recipes.

Especially when we're talking about hot chocolate.

That is all.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lunchtime Poll Topic #17

So, today's LTPT is fluffy. I wanted it to be simple and uncontroversial . I want it to make you close your eyes and go to your happy place.

If you could live anywhere--ANYWHERE--where would it be?

This is my answer. Right here.

Be as specific as you can. Don't tell me, "The country" or "The ocean." Which country? Which ocean? When you close your eyes and imagine it, what do you see? And no answers proclaiming that wherever your family is is your dream location. That's sweet, really it is, but that's probably true for all of us. So, be a little more creative.

I think I'll have to go with Tossa de Mar, Spain (see photo above). It's on the North East coast, near the South of France. It's gorgeous, it's laid back, and I loved every second I spent there. We've even talked about possibly retiring there--making living there a real plan for the future and not just a dream.

My favorite beach. I spent four hours at this tiny beach collecting sea glass and shards of beautiful old pottery.

I picture living in a beautiful villa with sea views and being within walking distance of the village. I imagine long days beach combing and long evenings dining with the locals.

The quaint little village of my dreams.

So, what about you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday Morning Confessions

Sorry, I know I'm late again. I'm busy, people!

1. Today I'm wearing a turtleneck with nothing over it for the first time...probably ever. When you're a big girl, turtlenecks are merely something to put under your oversized cardigan or frumpy jumper. They are never worn as an entity unto themselves.

2. I think I'm being stalked by a logging truck. No matter what time I leave, no matter the day, I am always, always, behind a logging truck at a light near my house (Gordon Highway and Jimmy Dyess, for you locals). The weird thing is, I don't know where it comes from. I can see a pretty significant distance down the road for nearly six miles before I get there, but I only see the truck at the light. It would be one thing if we were simply traveling the same road at the same time, but this thing just seems to appear. I'm a little freaked out by this daily occurrence.

3. Chips, especially of the Kettle Jalepeno variety, are my personal crack.

4. No matter what I do, I cannot make my thighs touch each other.

5. It annoys me to no end that Miley Cyrus' new song is so freakin' catchy that it gets stuck in my head for days at a time.

6. I was way too excited about a new Wal-Mart opening just 6 minutes from my house last week. Now, a Target would warrant the excitement I felt, but I shouldn't have felt that way over a Wal-Mart.

7. Making number six even more pathetic? I was equally--if not more-- excited when they opened a Super Wal-Mart near me in Maryland.

8. The lady at the pharmacy refused to give me my prescription today because she said it wasn't me on my military ID. This has happened a few times with security guards at the gate, as well. I have to tell them to "compare the moles." I guess it's time for a new ID.

9. Speaking of IDs, my current military ID is so horrifyingly bad that when the woman first made it, she looked at it and said that normally they don't do re-takes but she would make an exception in this case. I was in a hurry, so I just kept the hideous ID. I'll have to post it sometime.

10. I miss Will, but I'm really loving having a bedroom to myself. There's none of his crap piled on the floor. I can have the room as cold or as warm as I want. I watch TV in bed every night (something I can't do when he's home because he has to wake up at 4 am). Sometimes I sleep sideways just because I can.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Every day when he gets home...

...he takes off his pants.

And he watches Sponge Bob.

Every day.

It's a ritual.

A pants optional ritual.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dramatic much?

Cuter when he was too young to speak.

I was getting letters from the kids ready to mail to Will this morning, and I happened to glance at the letters from Ben.

The first couple were just random things going on at school and in the book he's reading. But then about three letters in, we come to this:

Dear dad, Mom hasn't let me play Wii in a month! For no reason! She's just being mean...

And then this:

...Please come home soon. Mom threw the Wii in the trash and she doesn't feed us dinner anymore...

And the grand finale:

Dear dad, Please come home now. Mom keeps us locked in our rooms and she made Liam stay at school until 5:00 on Friday because she doesn't even like him. She made Amelia scrub the floor with her toothbrush and then she made her brush her teeth with it! She didn't even let us go trickertreating [sic]. I haven't tasted candy in a year. I think she is poisoning us because we all through [sic] up on Sunday. Also she made me wear my pajamas to church...

I guess my secret is out. Please don't call child protective services on me, O.K.?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chester the Molester

That's my name for the new creepy guy at the pool.

He scares the bejeebers out of me.

I saw him last winter when I would sometimes go in the evening to swim. He would always be sitting in the hot tub, staring at people (mainly teen aged girls in bikinis) in a very creepy way.

Last week he started showing up to the pool in the mornings. He doesn't swim. He doesn't sit in the hot tub. He sits on the bench in his swim trunks and stares at everyone.

And I'm sorry--I know this is unfair to say--but he looks like a predator. I know that anyone can be a pedophile or a creep or a generic sicko, but this guy looks like the image we all have in our heads of what one would look like.

Except he kind of looks a little like Santa, too. Long white white hair, long white beard...

So, double creepy.

I almost want to say something to the aquatics director about him, but what do you say?
"Hey, that guy creeps me out."
"No, he hasn't done anything."
"Well, no, he's never said anything."
"Just kick him out because he looks like a pedophile, O.K.?"

See? They probably wouldn't take me seriously.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two things.

1. While reading Wil Wheaton's blog, I discovered that he plays Settlers. My infatuation has officially become an obsession.

2. I really wish that my kids would have started their barf-o-rama before I got up early, showered, shaved my legs, plucked my eyebrows, did my hair and make up and got dressed for church. I really would have preferred to sleep in a little had I known that 20 minutes before we were going to leave, my house would suddenly look like the pie eating contest scene from Stand By Me.