Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I need help.

I don't celebrate Halloween.

But I work in an elementary school this year and Halloween is a mandatory celebration complete with costume parade.

My fall-back costume from when I was young just won't do.

These kids don't know who Pippi Longstocking is.

I thought maybe I could be Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, but even that might be above the heads of Kindergarteners through second graders.


All That I Can Do

I can stand in a room full of 26 computers and 24 Kindergarteners and not be afraid.

I can have the power blink 7 minutes before my computer class and still be up and ready before the kids come in.

I can have lessons to teach that require minor assistance from the classroom teacher and still pull it off when I have a day full of substitute teachers that know nothing about how to help.

I can have a lab full of a dozen students, ready to participate in a reading program that I have not been trained on nor instructed in nor debriefed about and still teach them something about the program (and myself) in the half hour we have together.

I can change my schedule for every new need of my principal, including a change to cover for a recess monitor; to eat my lunch at 10:30 on Tuesdays to accommodate the lab schedule; to become a hall monitor before and after school instead of a bus monitor; to move classes around to accommodate the needs of one particular student in one particular class....

I can reproduce an entire set of log-in cards when they go missing even though I am certain I didn't lose them but unable to find them and the teacher insists she didn't take them only to have the teacher confess days later that she did in fact find them in her room.

I can grade papers, staple art projects, file math papers, and any other assorted tasks for other teachers when I have nothing at all to do in my lab.

I can help a brand new sub on her very first day, even making sure to be in the classroom at the end of the day when it's time to get kids ready for the bus (she apparently didn't make this a priority for herself, I was there alone with the kids).

But today, I did the hardest thing yet. I stuck a needle into a precious little six year old Kindergarten girl. She's diabetic and every day we have to test her blood and give her insulin and it's been changed to my list of duties as there needed to be a shift with the woman who was helping. And I did it, and we both survived. She made it easy. She's braver than I am.

When Scheduling is Your Job

I had a call from the Assistant Principal yesterday. It turns out there was an altercation with LM in Computer Applications class yesterday. We talked about the incident - minor, really - and I happened to mention that it's hard for LM because the material they are covering in C.A. is so easy for him. She suggested we move him to another computer class. I replied that I was unaware there was another computer class. "There's the 8th grade C.A. class," she responded.

"What will he take in 8th grade then?" I asked.

She didn't have an answer. She finally said he'd probably have to repeat the class. I politely suggested that wasn't much of a solution to the problem then.

So today LM goes to school and is approached by his counselor after 5th hour. "After lunch, go to your new computer class."

LM replied, "I didn't know I had a new computer class."

"Yes, you're in the 8th grade class now."

LM, aware of my conversation with the Assistant Principal, and the fact that I didn't think moving him was a good option to begin with, shrugged and headed to lunch.

After lunch, for 6th hour, he headed to his new computer class. It was already in session. The teacher told him to just "take a seat in the back and do the typing progam" which he did. And 20 minutes later, the bell rang. Because it was time for 8th grade lunch. And the teacher announced to LM that this wouldn't work at all because this was also her lunch hour. LM shrugged. And went back to his counselor and explained the problem.

And the counselor said, "oh, yeah, that won't work, will it?"

I think the best solution is to just let LM run the school at this point. He's clearly got the smarts for it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


It happened last weekend, too, but I had forgotten.  I could hear it outside my window but it took me a moment or two to realize what the sound was.  Breaking glass.  Just a little.  There it was.  Now there again.  Right outside the window.  I laid in bed and listened more carefully.  It's when I hear the slider that I realized the whole picture.  I looked out my window, into the reflection of the patio doors across the way and verified the scene.  He was throwing glass off his balcony into the street outside my patio.

I got up and got the dog and went out the back way.  I wanted to see it in person.  I'm not sure why that would make a difference, I just didn't want to believe that's what he was doing.  His mom would be home from the night shift soon.  He must just be up and bored.

When I got around to the front I could see the shards of glass shimmering all over the pavement.  I realized his mom's car might be the first tire casualty.  I took the dog back in, got a bag and came back out.  I very carefully picked up all the large pieces of glass that I could see.  It was light enough now that it wasn't too difficult.  I wondered what he had broken originally to get this much glass to throw.  

His mom pulled into the lot while I was still out there.  I signaled her to go around the glass and she rolled down her window to talk to me.  "Someone had too much fun last night and broke their bottles out here?"  I looked at her with that understanding that passes from mom to mom - I knew I'd hate to look so stupid, but I knew I had to say something.  "Actually, it would seem E was throwing glass off the balcony this morning.  I could hear it and then I saw him from my window in the reflection over there.  I'm so sorry to have to tell you that."

She went on to say how much trouble she's been having with E.  He's bigger than she is now and he thinks he can push her around and that he doesn't have to listen to her anymore.  I've only known E to be a quiet, polite boy who causes mischief now and then more out of boredom (because she works nights) than anything else.  He's done some things in the past that he will then leave a very remorseful apology note at our door for.  She said her friend just sent her son to the Juvenile Home and she's thinking about the same for E.  

I didn't know what to say.  I said things like, "This is a tough age" (E is LM's age) and "it's hard to be a single mom, isn't it?"  

But when I went back inside, and I stood at the sink doing dishes, it just swept over me.  I am so very blessed.  My son is such a caring, loving, son.  His troubles are so minor, so innocent, so typical for his age.  He loves his parents, he loves God.  I have never feared he would raise a hand to me or that he would do something that would cause injury or harm to someone else.  

I stood there at the sink and prayed.  

But for the grace of God, go I.

Too Personal

Because I am a sucker and because I took so much grief the last time for "not giving it a fair shot", when I joined the personals this summer, I took the discounted plan that extends my plan for a couple extra months.  I'm not sure what I was thinking, but alas, we all make mistakes.

I thought I would share the latest responses I've been getting to my profile.  While I am ever increasingly skeptical that this medium will warrant an options I wish to pursue, I do, at the very least find the whole thing extremely entertaining.  I give you these emails verbatim (grammar, spelling and all!)

Response #1:

"Amy, I seen in your profile you said that if I'm not yet divorced I'm not your type but I'm almost divorced.  Does that count?  P.S.  When you fell from heaven did it hurt and did you cry?  Let's meet for lunch at Logan's!! - B"

Response #2:

"i think we have a lot in common.  i love to water ski, camp, hike, ride qads, fish and hunt.  (note:  NONE of these things are listed on my profile as things I enjoy, except maybe hiking.)  i like to drink. i like to play cards with the boys.  i lost $400 last week but i usually win.  i think were a great match.  right soon.  - M."

Response #3:

"Amy, I saw your profile and really liked what you said.  I used to work with kids, too.  I worked at a child care center until I taught the kids to do shots with dixie cups.  They were only drinking water, of course, but apparently that's against the rules so I got fired.  Now I'm looking for work but I'm hanging out with my son.  I think it's important to be the best dad I can be.  We go to McDonald's a lot and play and the playplace.  I haven't met any women there, yet.  LOL  I like that you said you go to church every week.  I have never gone but sometimes wonder what it's all about.  Maybe you can show me.  Hope to hear from you soon.  I won't be home tonight, though, I'm going out to watch the game.  I take my son with me and he falls asleep in the booth.  It's so cute!  - D."

Response #4:

"Amy, I apologize for not writing back sooner but I was traveling for work.  I don't always have to travel but since I'm a college recruiter, this time of year is busier than most.  It's usually only regional day trips, but I'm occasionally gone over night.  I'm so bad at these first emails.  I wish I could just skip the small talk and jump into the casual part of a relationship.  But I'll try.  I would rather vacation in Maine than Florida.  I loved my trip to England but wish I had someone there with me.  When I go the next time I plan to visit Ireland and Scotland as well.  I'm a huge baseball fan - Go Cubs!!  I doubt being a Cubs fan impresses anyone, but I could never cheer for a team like the Yankees.  I'm all about the underdog.  Speaking of which, I love dogs but don't have one (because of my travel).  I love kids but don't have any.  I was married for nine years and have been divorced for six.  I still run into my ex wife occasionally as she lives one town away but we're very amicable.  We just weren't the right spouses for each other.  I just bought a house a couple years ago.  It needs some work which I do on the weekends and over the summer.  Someday it will be really beautiful.  Well, I have rambled on long enough and not said anything all that impressive.  I'm not a world traveler, I enjoy being close to home.  I'm not overly wealthy but I pay the bills and have a plan for retirement.  I'm a pretty regular, down-to-earth, easy going guy just looking for the woman God has in mind for me.  If I haven't bored you half to death, feel free to email me back.  I'm usually online on Sundays while the football games are on.  Hope to hear from you soon.  If I'm not what you're looking for, I wish you all the best in your search.  - S."

Okay, so #4 has potential.  I don't hold my breath, though.  I try to keep an open mind and a cautious heart.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rosie and Gabby

I was guilted and backed into a corner and persuaded and did I mention guilted?  But mostly I was backed into a corner.  In front of Pam's brothers.  And so I agreed.  Temporarily.  But the "temporary" part wasn't heard, I don't think.

And so now, I am reluctantly fostering two of Pam's cats.  They are wonderful, don't get me wrong, but with a cat and a dog of my own, and a paycheck (and an apartment) the size of a postage stamp, taking on two additional pets isn't what I had in mind right now.  

They are living in my bedroom right now, behind closed doors.  Gabby will come out when I go to bed and talk to me and snuggle right up with me.  His motor will run and he will just enjoy all the love I can give him.

He is a real sweetheart, but the woman who had them before me had trouble with Gabby.  He was aggressive with her male cat and I'm afraid he'll do much the same with mine.  We haven't tried yet. 

Rosie is a sweetie.  She wants to come to you on her terms but she's a doll.  She's quiet and calm.  She didn't get worked up when she met Jonah (our cat) or Eli (our dog) until Eli got a little excited and then she was ready to hide somewhere.  She sleeps on my bed but hasn't said a word since she arrived. 

It was Pam's wish that they would be kept together as they have been for 8 years.  But at this point, we're having so much difficulty placing them that we may have to separate them.  I think they will do just fine.  

It's hard to have her cats and yet not feel as though I can keep them.  I would, if we lived in a house and had the room and the funding for more pets.  And if they got along with the pets we already consider part of the family.  But for now, I will love them like Pam would and I will pray that someone somewhere will realize they need a wonderful cat in their home.  I know the perfect ones.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I missed three of their birthdays.  I knew I was late on two but the third one, I didn't even know the right date and he only just now turned a year old.  

I'm a dreadful friend.  I never call.  I rarely email.  And when we get together I feel as if all we talk about is me.  And they are the ones with a family of five.

But they are some of my beautiful friends that I am ever so grateful for.  I treasure the moments we get to spend together and wonder every time as I drive away why I don't keep in better touch.  

They make me laugh.  

They make me smile.  

They make me happy to spend time together with them.  They are beautiful parents.  They are a beautiful couple (Happy Anniversary!) and God has blessed me with their friendship.

Smells Like Home

I normally have several pictures from the annual event.  Pictures of apples on trees, pictures of LM picking his first apple. Pictures of LM eating his third apple.  Pictures of bushels and bushels of apples. 

But when we went to the orchard this year, it was raining.  Not just raining, pouring.  Not just pouring, but it had been raining for more than 24 hours and would continue to rain for another 24 after that.  It was a muddy, mucky, rainy mess.  Fortunately for us, it wasn't cold.

We could have waited another weekend.  We could have gone this past weekend instead of the one before when we needed Noah along to help us navigate through the flood.  But the 13th is when they were opening the orchard to pick Honey Crisp apples.  And we only wanted Honey Crisp apples. And if we didn't pick on the 13th, they would be gone.

(I took this picture just this weekend.  Not in the pouring rain, obviously.  But you can see the varieties of apples available and that the honey crisp are long gone.)

We weren't the only crazy ones.  Our car was 20 cars back in line just to get in to the orchard.  But we came prepared.   With a borrowed wagon and bags from last year's pick, we were in and out in less than a half hour.  Out with 140 pounds of apples.  

And we were soaked.  But we were laughing.  And I wouldn't trade the memories for the world.

In a week's time, I canned 49 jars of applesauce and baked one apple pie (by request of LM).  

I cannot put into words the joy I get from canning.  I love it.  I love the smell in the house.  I love the feeling of accomplishment, slow but sure.  I love lining up the jars in my pantry.  I love peeling apple after apple.  I just love it.  Maybe it makes me feel like a good mother.  Maybe it makes me feel like a good wife (lacking the husband).  Maybe it just makes me appreciate God's creation.  Short of digging in dirt in the spring, there is nothing that comforts my soul like canning applesauce.

Thank You

For all the prayers, for the concern, for the love, for the kindness.  Thank you for those who have supported Pam who didn't even know her.  Thank you for those of you who donated to the Light the Night Benefit that LM and I participated in on Saturday.  Your thoughtfulness means the world to me.

The Light the Night Benefit for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society was
hard to participate in without Pam

But there were so many of us there including two of her brothers in support of her,
honoring her memory and hoping to help find a cure and to help support those fighting the disease.  
The Kalamazoo/Battle Creek walk raised over $122,500.

As I stood holding a gold balloon - the color that honors someone we've lost - I told LM that I hope when he is my age cancer is something old-fashioned, a disease people used to die from but one that we have since found a cure for.  

I hope.

I pray.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In Memory Of Pam

LM and I will be walking in the Light the Night walk for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Cancer Society on Saturday evening.  

I have a donation site if anyone is interested, but in no way should you feel an obligation.  I just wanted to make it available for anyone who wanted to contribute.

I know Pam benefited from the research and assistance this organization provided for her.  While her life was not spared, perhaps we can spare others.  

My friend Julie has a little one fighting leukemia as well.  I'm sure you know of others, too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Do You...

...know how much it meant to me that you dropped everything to come keep me company even after I said no, stay home, even after I reminded you I'd be miserable company, you still came.

...know how sweet it was that you brought me flowers, gave me a huge hug and asked so many times how I was - really - ?

...know how much I appreciated the gentleness and tenderness that you treated me with when my heart was breaking?

...know how touched I was that you sat and played poker with a reluctant risk-taker, and a horrible bluffer when you could have been home enjoying the games?

...know how wonderful it was for me to see the Rentals? To hug them both and hear their giggles when LM read them Cat in the Hat with an English accent?

...know how nice it was when you cooked dinner?

...know how much I absolutely love the jersey, even though it somehow feels inappropriate to accept it now? My favorite boy on my favorite team.

...know how much I worry that you're doing all this to win me back?

...really believe me when I say I care about you but I can't date you now?

...understand why?

...think we can really be just friends or is the only end to this a broken heart and bitter feelings?

...know how scared I am of becoming 'that girl'? The one who takes advantage, who has no regard for the feelings and desires of the other, the one who will take in all the kindnesses without seeing or addressing the underlying message?

...know how relationships got so complicated in the first place?

...know that I do care - so much, in fact, that all of this worries me and makes me think I should close the door, even if you insist on leaving it open?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dear Pam

I came to see you today.  We haven't talked since Tuesday and I missed your voice.  I knew there might be a lot of people there but I was taken back by how crowded it was.  It seems everyone wanted to see you today. 

While I waited for a moment to talk to you, I looked through your scrapbooks.  If I didn't know how much you loved teaching, it sure shows in all the albums of all the years you've taught first grade.  Some of the pictures were hard to look at.  The ones from two years ago, when you were first diagnosed.  The ones where you had lost your hair and it was just beginning to grow back.  But the thing I noticed was how happy you were in every single picture.  Whether it was in your classroom or out with friends or walking at Relay for Life, or playing board games with your family, you are always smiling.

It had occurred to me over the weekend that I don't have a single picture of you.  All of our time together was just casual fun and nothing that was camera worthy at the time.  When I looked at the boards full of pictures, though, I saw the one that you had taken of all of us at Relay this year.  It's not just of us, but it's of a group of your friends, which seems appropriate.  I bet fifty people consider you on of their best friends.  I know I do.

I saw Samantha there.  I wonder what she might think.  She was so cute in your classroom last year.  Now a big second grader.  Did I tell you that I see Zoe every day getting off the bus?  She helps her little brother Gabe get to Kindergarten now.  She's as adorable as ever.  Always reminds me of you as she just epitomizes your class last year.  

When I did get a moment with you, I wasn't alone.  Michelle wanted us to see you together, and it seemed like she needed someone to be her strength, so I did.  I know you would have, too.  She talked about how you came to her room that Thursday and asked for a hug.  It's so like you.  It's the only thing you ever asked for.  

I have to apologize, I didn't speak with all of your family that was there.  They don't know me, and I am sure that my words have been repeated over and over all day.  I actually was trying to leave, not that I wanted to leave you, but all those people, all that crying, I'm sure you would have been uncomfortable there, too.  As I left I saw our principal.  She hugged me and we talked for a moment, but I was losing control of my tears and so I left.

Which is when I saw Sue.  I know you told me to look out for her.  You said on Tuesday that she was taking all of this so hard, and I promised you I would be there for her.  But she was the one who held me up in that foyer.  I met her parents and her stepkids.  I know I should have stayed to be there if she needed me, but I wasn't strong enough today.  I will keep my promise to you, though, and I'll be strong enough when she needs me to be.

I guess I'm just writing because I had things I wanted to say that I didn't get a chance to.  I wanted to see you last week but this cold kept me out of the hospital room.  I know that was the smart decision at the time, but it makes me ache now.  Today I just wanted a great big Pam hug, but you couldn't give any more hugs.  And I couldn't even give one to you.

Pam, all those people in that room have known you for years.  Your siblings, your parents, your fellow teachers, even students.  I have only known you this past year.  I can't even remember the exact day that we met, or when our relationship changed from me being your sub to us being friends.  I think with you, you're already friends with someone whenever you meet them.  You have been my biggest supporter this past year; my biggest encourager.  You've demonstrated to me what a great teacher is, and what a great friend is.  You've been the role model for me that has shown me how to blend my Christian faith into my friendships, my teaching and my professional life.  You were the first person to tell me of the openings at school and the first person to call and ask how my interviews went.  You were unabashedly honest with me when I interviewed elsewhere about your hope that I get my own classroom but your selfish desire that I get one at your school.  

And I did.  Just down the hall from Room 3.  Pam's room.  

Tomorrow I would have taught your class for the first time.  I know we were both looking forward to that.  And our every other week lunches together.  I will miss those.

I know why you can't be here for me to talk to.  I know where you are and I am truly so very happy for you.  I know that God's arms opened wide when you arrived and I  know without a doubt that while you weren't rewarded here on earth with a longer life, a loving husband, or children of your own, I know that your blessings are eternal ones and God has great plans for you in Heaven.  

But I want you to know how much I'm going to miss you.  How much I was looking forward to our friendship growing this year.  How much I still had to learn from you.  

I will keep an eye on Sue.  And on Room 3.  I will try my best to love all my students with the heart you loved your students with.  And I will try to remember how selfless you were in this life and to be much the same.

I love you, Pam.  I miss you like crazy already.  I don't wish you back, as I know you are dancing with your brother and you are rejoicing with God, but I look forward to the day when I can see you again.  I can only imagine how great that hug will feel.

Love always, in Christ,


Friday, September 12, 2008

The Color of the Day

This week at school the first graders have been learning their color words.  We were asked as a staff to wear the appropriate color each day.  I gave up after three days when I realized I didn't own anything red, orange or purple.  

It was at lunch that I heard the news.  It didn't even make sense to me for the first few minutes and even after it did, I realized it was more devastating to those around me and so I toughed it out and filled in for those that needed to leave.

Pam died today.

And an entire elementary school grieved with the news.

And while I can soothe myself knowing that she's in Heaven dancing with her brother.  While I know that it's better this way than to have suffered through months of treatment to arrive at the same end.  Today, with rain pouring down, my heart aches for a woman that was a best friend to hundreds of people.

It wasn't until later, when I was welcoming a first grade class into the library that it struck me.  It was all I could do to keep myself together and read to the kids.

Nearly every teacher in the building and seven classrooms of students, including Pam's class, were all wearing black.

Today is a very black day indeed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Prayers for Pam

I haven't blogged in a week, I realize.  After Pam went into the hospital, nothing really seemed worthy of blogging.  My horrible fantasy football games?  The fact that my cable was finally shut off six months after I stopped service (but the day before football started?)  Nothing seems important or funny or worthwhile. 

I don't have good news.  Pam's blood won't clot.  When the body suffers a trauma (say, like, leukemia) it sometimes decides it's not going to clot anymore.  It's life threatening.  She can't open an envelope.  She can't brush her teeth.  She can't do anything that might cause her to bleed.  Because she might not stop.  

To treat the condition (DCIS) they have to treat the leukemia.  So arsenic it is.  Pam's already had 3/4 of a lifetime dose of it, but they're going to try another 1/4.  

A bone marrow transplant is on the agenda.

A transfer to the University of Michigan hospitals for more advanced specialists and options is on the horizon.

She's on extreme bed rest, unable to even get out of bed without alarms sounding and nurses scolding.  But she's really too weak anyway.

When I talk with her, though, she's still laughing.  And teasing her 78 year old mother about having another child to help cure her leukemia like the tabloids talk about.  She understands that the doctor has said she'll have to take the entire year off teaching, but she was holding out hope since they wrote "a semester" on some paperwork.  

My heart just aches.  I struggle to find God's meaning and purpose in all of this.  

I'm feeling guilty for feeling selfish.  I miss her at school.  I miss her on the phone.  I miss her funny emails and jokes about pixie sticks and apple pies.  I just plain miss her.  And I want to go see her, but I know she's had too many visitors.  I know she needs to rest and wants to rest but won't turn people away.  I know I have a sore throat and have no business going anywhere near the hospital right now.  But I want to see my dear friend, Pam.  I want to see the hope in her eyes and the optimism in her heart and I want it to wear off on me.  

I spent an afternoon with Pam this summer at Race for a Cure.  We sat at the auction and she bid on more things than she usually does and bought a $50 afghan that someone had made.  In addition to the hundreds of dollars she already spends on the event, she didn't hesitate to spend more at the auction.  Today she said, "At least I made a big donation this summer."

Unfortunately, it would seem leukemia doesn't take bribes.  

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


A year ago I didn't even know her. She's a teacher one that was born to educate and mold the minds of first graders. She's hysterically funny but considers herself shy. She was my first friend after the move and my biggest encourager ever since. She was the most excited to hear I would be teaching in her building this year and will continue to push to help me land a full-time classroom position.

She invited me to school on Monday so I could show LM my classroom. I was as excited to see her as I was to see my room. We talked for over an hour. She had met LM before, but she was quickly entertained by him. Pam has never married, although I can't figure out just why no man hasn't fallen for her.

I noticed the bruises then, but didn't say much. I don't want to act concerned when it's her cancer we're discussing. If she wasn't worried, I'd try not to be, too. She excused them away, she'd been carrying in loads of things to get her room set up. I nodded and agreed, but wondered about the back of her arm, the back of her leg...

I was thrilled today to walk in and see her. We hugged and cheered that we'd be seeing each other every day this year. I caught her from time to time in the hallway with her kids - she told me one of her students had asked why her shirt was fuzzy. "Cat + black shirt = fuzz" she answered in typical Pam fashion.

It was at lunch that our concern racheted up a notch. Others had noticed the bruises and some she'd known for longer, known when she was fighting leukemia asked if she'd made the calls yet. She'd tried, but had gotten an answering service for the cancer center. She'd try again after lunch she promised. We tried not to talk about it. But in just one day I saw more bruises, more colors, more inexplicable marks. I was genuinely scared.

While it was only a half day for students, she intended on staying in her classroom until 5. I had training until 3 but told her I'd stop by before I left for the day. She poked her head into our training an hour later and said she was going to get her blood count checked. She wasn't in her room when I stopped by.

When I called later, the news wasn't good. Platelets are low. Not as low as when she was originally diagnosed, but low enough they want to see her on Friday for a bone marrow draw. She's been through this before. It isn't fun and it didn't come out well the first time.

My heart sank with the news. For all she's so recently been through, just two short years ago, with her hair finally getting longer again, she's faced with the same fears, the same worries, perhaps the same outcome.

The first day back, the first day with her new students, the first week of school and classes and she has this weighing on her mind. I pray that God lifts her burden. I pray that He takes this out of her and keeps it from her. I pray that the draw on Friday is not the outcome that seems so likely. I pray.

For it's all I know to do.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Monday, September 01, 2008

Back In The Saddle

I was busy cleaning out the last of four closets when LM said he thought it was time I started dating again. I stopped and stared at him. "It hasn't been much more than a week, LM. Seriously."

"I know, Mom, but I think I found the perfect guy for you.

"He doesn't snore, he doesn't stay out late with all his friends, he's polite, he never argues..."

"LM, what on earth are you talking about?"

"I found the perfect guy for you, Mom. All you have to do is add water."

And that's when I realized. He had found the boyfriend Mig had sent to me last year. (Cause that's what friends are for, to send you a boyfriend in case you ever need one.) He must have fallen out of one of the boxes I had just emptied.

I'll admit. There are some qualities about him that I do like. He doesn't talk about himself and all his accomplishments. He doesn't belch after dinner. He doesn't insist on listening to RunDMC while driving. But I think he's been spending a bit too much time at the tanner, and he needs to learn not to slurp the foam off his beer and there's this whole growing-shrinking-growing thing he's supposed to do, that, well frankly I'm not even sure Cialis could help. But even if I could get past that, when push comes to shove, he obviously just came out of the closet. And we all know I've been down that road before.