7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 194)

November 2, 2012 | 40 comments

— 1 —

NOTE TO SELF: Never, ever, ever clean the house before Halloween. I’m thinking here specifically of the day before, though I may make it my policy not to clean at all in the calendar year leading up to October 31. Wednesday at 4:00 PM our house was immaculate. Just four short hours later, it was a wasteland of candy wrappers and discarded costume pieces, broken orange buckets littering the floor, little chocolate handprints accenting the couch and the walls. The kids have been sustaining life on candy for over 24 hours now, which means that getting them to do their usual chores is impossible. Unloading the dishwasher degenerates into duels with dinner forks, picking up toys from the living room floor turns into a particularly violent game of dodgeball (or, perhaps more accurately, dodgetoy). It is hard to believe that a house could go from “clean and tidy” to “may require the involvement of the Health and Sanitation Department” in such a short amount of time.

— 2 —

This was the first year that the kids got multiple fliers for local churches in their candy baskets. I’ve heard of this idea, which is usually thought of as “using Halloween to reach out to the unchurched masses.” But evidently all the people on our block are Christians involved with the outreach ministries of their congregations, so the result was that trick-or-treating on our street involved different churches swapping brochures with one another.

— 3 —

Aside from the complexities of actually getting there, I’m really looking forward to speaking at the Frassati Conference in Bremerton, WA on November 10. If you’re in the area, do join us! There are tons of great activities at the event itself, including a beautiful vigil Mass and an enrollment of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. (If you’re not familiar with the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, check out this FAQ here. I wasn’t familiar with it, but it’s really interesting!)

— 4 —

Joe was telling me about all the exciting camping opportunities up in Washington and Oregon, which is sort of like telling a slug about all the exciting swimming opportunities in the Great Salt Lake. I stared ahead and nodded politely while Joe brainstormed how we could find ways to sleep outside in the cold rain during this trip, hoping he realized that these were 30 seconds of his life that he could never get back. But then something occurred to me: My only frame of reference for camping is Texas. Could it be that there are places where you can walk through the brush without your ankles bleeding from the thorns, where you don’t have to spend hours picking off burrs and ticks afterward? Could camping possibly involve not being soaked in sweat 24 hours of every day that you are out? Could you stand in one place for more than ten seconds without being covered in fire ants? Could you sleep without worrying about scorpions and RATTLESNAKES SLITHERING INTO YOUR SLEEPING BAG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT???

I dunno. I still need a really compelling reason to take a vacation from indoor plumbing. But I can sort of see how Pacific Northwest camping might have a more compelling ratio of misery to payoff.

— 5 —

While we’re on a roll, let’s talk about another thing that I don’t get but everyone else totally gets: organized exercise. Joe considered spontaneously entering a half Iron Man the other day, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about his personality. When he realized we couldn’t fit it into the schedule, I suggested that he do the same distances around here and said it would be the exact same thing, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about my personality. I’ve gotten to the point that I can see the advantages of occasional physical movement, but I still can’t imagine doing it in a group context, or on someone else’s schedule.

Joe and I ended up in one of those absurd conversations where we couldn’t have been missing each other any more if we’d been speaking different languages. I kept trying to pinpoint what, exactly, the advantage is of participating in a race. “If you want to know how you rank, you could time yourself and compare it to the published rankings of the suckaz who got up at 4 AM to do the official half Iron Man!” I suggested. He just sort of nodded his head in pity at his wife who is never going to know the awesomeness of group exercise.

— 6 —

So I finally picked up my Lovenox prescription at the pharmacy. The details of our byzantine insurance policy change all the time, so each pregnancy when I go to pick up my first box of shots, I stand in line at the pharmacy like a contestant on Press Your Luck. As the pharmacy tech types in my info I shout, “NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES!”…and then I either start dancing a jig or shaking my fist at the heavens depending on what the cash register rings up. It’s just like this:

This time I got a whammy: $1, 300 for a one-month supply of the generic brand. But on the bright side, it would be $2, 400 if I didn’t have insurance! (And yes, I am looking into various options for mitigating the expense. Over the years I’ve learned to get creative.) The other day I saw the baby toddling around with one of my needles, and I completely flipped out as I dashed over to get it back. Yaya saw the incident and pointed out that I probably didn’t need to worry since it had a safety cap on it. I said, “Heck, I wasn’t worried about that! That thing cost me 45 bucks!”

— 7 —

I know I’m a couple of days late on this, but as I sit here in my candy-wrapper-covered living room, feeling mildly ill from that third handful of Skittles I had for breakfast, I can’t not post this video of Henri the Existential Cat ruminating on Halloween:



  1. Megan

    Wow that is a whammie. Bummer.
    You might get rained out. But I’d take rain over scorpions ANY day!
    Good luck with the traveling and HAVE FUN!

  2. jen

    As I emailed you, I have experience with Lovenox. My son developed a clot in his leg last year during his 3 week epic hospitalization and went home on twice-daily Lovenox investigations. Our insurance changed two weeks later and I had to get the hospital to comp us two weeks of Lovenox while I found a home health care pharmacy that could fill Daniel’s prescription and figured out how to pay for it. Thankfully, the home health care pharmacy played ball with us and we only had to do one week at-cost ($600) before we got Medi-Cal and California Childrens’ Services to kick in and cover it. We got used to doing the shots and 5 months later, a venous Doppler showed the clot dissolved. I don’t know who was happier about being kicked out of our hematologist’s practice: the hematologist or me!

  3. Lisa Schmidt

    Joel just asked me, “Do you remember the name of the Press Your Luck host?” Without skipping a beat, I shouted, “Peter Tomarken!”

    Thanks for the flashback to my favorite childhood game show, and I’m sorry about your double whammie… 🙁

  4. Erika

    I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one who fails to find organized group exercise attractive!

  5. allison

    Ummm.. when I went camping in Austin, our entire college group got flooded out from banks of Lake Travis (my tent was not one that got flooded, but we ran to our cars anyway). None of the other stuff you listed in your post happened.. but that was enough camping drama for me – and I never went camping again!

  6. Jessica

    I’m right there with you on occasional physical movement. If I were in a race, I would just want to go at my own pace–super slow–which pretty much defeats the purpose of RACING.

  7. TracyE

    In my younger days, I loved camping. Until, in our first year of marriage, we camped in the Florida Keys (BK–before kids) and sleeping on coquina with merely a comforter between me and the rock….I had such pain the next day I insisted on a hotel for the remainder of the trip OR ELSE!!! We’ve not camped since….17 years later. poor hubby, relegated to back yard camping with the kids whilst I enjoy the bed. Although……there IS something to be said about breakfast around the campfire. And s’mores…. 😉

  8. Stacy

    Yeah, the group exercise thing baffles me too. My suggestion is this: run enough laps around your living room to go the race distance, all while enjoying television, snacks, and air conditioning. Then take the entry fee and donate it straight to the charity that the race is benefitting. Exercise? Done. Good deed? Done Snacking? Done!

  9. Theresa in Alberta

    I just LUV camping,,,,from the view of my hotel room window on my way to the full service resturant ;D eh

    • Theresa in Alberta

      p.s. I handed out little bags of cheesie’s that had a prayer card of the St Michael prayer taped to it and for the older kids an inexpensive plastic Rosary along with a prayer card of the mysteries taped to the package.

  10. Kathleen Basi

    The cat is HILARIOUS!

  11. Dwija {House Unseen}

    No! No camping! Camping in the PNW will be just as miserable as camping in Texas, just with different names attached to the agony. Drenched in sweat in Texas? Drenched in rain in the PNW! Itching because of fire ants in Texas? Itching because of poison ivy in the PNW! Either way you slice it, if you camp for REAL it’s gonna suck and if you do that fake, comfortable kind of camping *you might as well just stay in a hotel ohmygoshwhatiswrongwithpeople*.

  12. Valerie @ Momma in Progress

    Yes, #5. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who has eaten Skittles for breakfast this week.

  13. KyCat

    Now I will go on record as an extrovert, so take this for what it’s worth, but I will go far longer and far harder in official group exercise than I will ever go on my own. And there is a camaraderie that you can’t get without a group of crazies all pushing themselves together. Now I do prefer events such as the Tough Mudder where they clearly state that it is not a race but a challenge over a straight race, but I would certainly see an Iron Man that way. That being said part of the advantage for me is having a future goal to work toward and motivate me, so an impromptu event would not work for me! Good luck to your hubby and good luck on that communicating! My hubby and I have had those conversations where we use the same words but they clearly mean different things to us – marriage is interesting!

  14. Leanne

    I second your policy to not clean the entire year leading up to Halloween! Great idea! I hope it catches on!!

  15. Robin

    I, who never comment, must say:

    Bravo! Bravo! Henri the Existential Cat!

  16. Cate

    Aw- “Press Your Luck”! I have fond memories of sick days spent on my grandmother’s couch watching that show.

    As for camping, maybe it *is* just being limited to Texas experiences, but when one memorable girl scout campout involved a flash flood complete with lightning striking and exploding a tree just meters from our tent, it’s hard not to hold a grudge against the “great” outdoors. Give me AC and indoor plumbing!

  17. princessmorag.blogspot.com/

    Wow am I grateful for the NHS in Britain – I didn’t know those miserable injections were so expensive -yikes. You’ve just added another BIG reason not to get pregnant here in the USA.

  18. Jenny

    Hi. 🙂 I’m a parishioner at Our Lady Star of the Sea and am looking forward to the conference! Would you mind signing my copy of “Style, Sex, and Substance” while we’re there? Safe travels!! Fr. Lappe is an awesome pastor!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Of course! Can’t wait to meet you!

  19. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Group exercise makes you accountable…unless they are good friends then you can always come up with the excuse, “If they really love me, they won’t care that I don’t show up.”

  20. kayleen

    Camping in the PNW is SO GREAT! You would love it. I love it. Here are some photos from our camping trip a few summers ago. It is well worth it. We have MOUNTAINS here! It truly is gorgeous. A little rain doesn’t hurt anyone 🙂 Also the critters are very manageable :)http://www.whenkayleengrowsup.blogspot.com/2010/07/lous-first-camping-trip.html

  21. Marie

    Oh camping in the PNW sounds awesome! My husband and I love to camp and we took our baby girl camping at 9 months (in a pop-up trailer) and she did great. I think she inherited our love of all things outdoorsy and camping related. That being said, we took a road trip this past summer and stayed with some friends along the way. On 2 different occasions (once in IL and the other time in TN) we were telling the other couple about how much we would love to have them come visit us in MN and while they were there we would love to take them camping – you know we have all these lakes and beautiful state parks, yada, yada. Well, we are just talking away and I looked at my one friend’s face that was frozen in horror and she managed to stammer out – “camping, you mean, like out in nature, with no indoor plumbing?”. I didn’t get the hint and went on to say that well they were usually indoor toilets at some of the state parks in a central bldg in the campground and it wouldn’t be that far to walk to get there, or else there was always the pit toilets. Yeah, that ended the conversation very fast!

    We did tell them that of course they could come and stay at our house too and we could forego the whole camping thing and maybe just do day trips to some of the nearby attractions. LOL! I still don’t know if they are convinced. So far no one has asked to come visit this summer. But really, it is beautiful up here and the camping is fabulous!

  22. Bill Burns

    Camping in the Pacific Northwest is fantastic. It’s cool, green, the mountain air is excellent, and food taste better. Truly nothing like it.

    • Liz C

      Okay, camping in the PNW in JULY is kind of awesome.

      But November? That’s just a recipe for disaster, pneumonia, trench rot, and three kinds of fungus in places you don’t want to think about.

      And if you go across the Cascades to the dry side, you’ll just die of frostbite.

      November is WINTER. We don’t live outside in WINTER for anything less than apocalyptic reasons.

  23. Trisha Niermeyer Potter @ Prints of Grace

    Oh my goodness! I can’t believe that you didn’t consent to the complete corruption and assault on the proper nutrition and dental hygiene of your children in a manner that wasn’t as full-out as it could have been! When my sisters and I were growing up, we didn’t use pitiful orange buckets, we used pillowcases. You can fit a whole lot more candy in those. They’re also harder to carry when they get to a certain weight, but who cares? We just wanted to go out and get the free candy. When using pillowcases there is enough that parents can easily pick what they want after “checking it for tampering,” that was until my sisters and I counted every single piece to see if one of us had more than the other.

    My husband and I aren’t much for exercising. I have the philoshophy of it that my college roommate has, that she only does it when someone’s chasing her (since I’m a nanny, I also do it when I’m chasing a little one.)

    Love, love, love the cat video even more because I speak French and it’s that much funnier without the translation. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  24. Lauren

    Camping in the PNW is awesome BUT only if it’s in the summer. In our current weather pattern, it will be cold and drizzling the whole time. NOT FUN. NOT FUN. (says myself in Portland, who also wishes she could find some reason to drive over to Mt. Angel to meet you!…you’re not speaking there too, are you??)

  25. Grace

    I am SO with you on the camping.

    talk about my worst NIGHTMARE.

    also — why did I think your trip was planned for September? why do I feel like a stalker for thinking/knowing that?

  26. Allison

    The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is a powerhouse! I was blessed to be enrolled last year when 2 Dominicans came to my campus for a retreat. It was an amazing mass and enrollment, and I can definitely witness to the power of the graces I’ve received from being enrolled! I highly encourage everyone who has a chance to join to do so.

  27. Hannah

    Go camping! We love it in all weather conditions!

  28. Mamabearjd

    You could rent a big rv and drive it up there and then “camp” in it. You’d have a full year of blog material by the time you got home!

  29. Ashley

    I think I missed the pregnancy announcement! Congratulations! That is wonderful and awesome! By the way, we just had a baby in August and I splurged on your suggestion of the Lancôme concealer. It is amazing! I got compliments wearing the concealer and no other makeup. I am happy to not look quite as tired as I feel! Blessings for your pregnancy!!

  30. Betty Sue

    I remember camping in Oregon with four or five children (I now have 9). I believe the campground had flush toilets, showers, and a store. Our tent was pitched on a lawn under shade trees with a fenced playground right next door. Wonderful weather and not a sticker in sight, much less snakes.

    I’ve been in campgrounds like you describe in Texas and they would make a non-camper out of me too, if that was the only option. There are actually some very beautiful campgrounds out there that make camping quite fun.

  31. Kelly

    Um. That cowboy hat and kerchief is the exact costume I got for my cat.

  32. Robyn

    Camping: OK for me, big no for my husband. He said, “Doesn’t this feel a lot like WORK to you?” So hotels for our fam from then on.
    Henri: I love him. I thought I was the only one. Crippling self doubt – LOL

  33. Jesabes

    I don’t understand group exercises/races at all, either. For me, it’s mainly the “on someone else’s schedule” part, plus dealing with traffic and travel expenses. WHY?

  34. Maia

    I’m back on the preggo doses of Lovenox, too. Good cause. But the daily doubles are leaving me bruised, and I’m finding they hurt more this third time around! Anyhow, I can’t sympathize on the whammy side of it as the military insurance picks up the cost aside from the $5 co-pay (ends up being $15 a month). I sometimes grit my teeth over Tricare, but I remember to unclench the jaw when get a statement that tells me how much I WOULD be paying! Spendy suckers!!!

  35. Lindsey

    Say NO to camping – it’s really really cold up here! But a campfire with s’mores and NO mosquitos – that’s cool. Also if there is a clear night the stars are amazing.

  36. kate

    PNW camping involves rain. Lots and lots of rain. Especially if you’re camping near the coast. There are 2 months where camping here might be good – July and August. But I may be a bit of a nay-sayer here in the NW. There are some pretty hard core people.

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