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All happy families are alike.

“Just stay in your side of the bed,” I admonish, “and don’t kick.”

“She always kicks me. She always kicks her feet.”

“I do not!”

“You always get annoyed and kick me–”

“I DO NOT–”

“Do you two want to have a sleepover or not?” I ask. Elias: “Not.” Addie: “Yes.”

Eli has a bunk bed. They’re watching a Redbox cartoon, and she insisted on splitting the top bunk with him instead of having the lower to herself. She’s stretching her legs out already. “Keep your legs over there,” I warn her. She grumbles.

I go to set the movie up, sighing, “You two. I swear.”

Elias: “What?”

“We were having, like, the best day ever, and I really wanted to end it on a good note.”

“That’s what I want too!” Elias chimes in. “I’m having a good day! I want it to end well too!”

“I WANT IT TO END HORRIBLE!” Addie grouses, and suddenly she has no shirt and her arms are crossed. I can’t help it. I just start laughing. This is my kids in a nutshell. Elias is always agreeable for its own sake, and Addie is always disagreeable for the same reason. Her face is perpetual human Grumpy Cat.

It WAS a good day, though. A great day. The best. Jason is waiting for me upstairs but I said I needed a few minutes to just write something down to commemorate how great it was.

It was one of those perfect happy times that completely sneaks up on you. It was just supposed to be a normal Tuesday. I had nothing big on the schedule. No appointments. No errands. Wake up. All my favorite clothes are clean and I lost weight. Makes no sense, since I’ve been enjoying a steady diet of Cadbury creme eggs and banana bread, but HEY, I’ll take it!

Think about going to the gym in the morning. Girls text: Are we going to gym? I look at my list of computer work that I Really Should Do. Text back: I really should do this computer work.

Sit down at computer. Pull up email. Email says Redbox alert! ALL THE MOVIES YOU WANTED OUT TODAY! ‘Anna Karenina’! ‘Zero Dark Thirty’! ‘Argo’! ‘Angelina Ballerina Mousling Mysteries’! (That last one was for the kids.) (I swear.)

Well, let me just rent them ALL, then! Click! Done.

Open my web design stuff up. Look at my budget.

I really SHOULD do this.

Or… OR.

Maybe I should just text my sister and see if she wants me to bring over ‘Anna Karenina’ instead.

Michelle: YES.

Shower up really fast, take Lola for a walk since she’s totally sweet and doesn’t get enough attention. Love you, you little furball. Stop by the Redbox and pick up all four movies. Get to Michelle’s.

Millie greets me in the stairwell. “Aunt BAAAHHHHACCCCCCA!” Tiny soft body launches at me. She squeals. I squeal.

Michelle and I talked about going to Aldi’s a couple days ago, so we decide to do that first, because we are taking our finances serious as a heart attack these days. I used to be so on top of my money. I still am, like I still budget and track everything, but I’m getting lax and that makes me sad. I came to a realization lately that I like saving money more than I ever like spending it. Couponing and good deals bring me a ridiculous level of joy.

Her: “Where is it?”

“It’s right there. No, on the left. LEFT there.”

“This is familiar. Like I’m going to–” she pauses. “Wait, this is right next to–”

We look at each other, and gasp in unison: ZAXBY’S!

Michelle’s all, “Oh, that’s happening.”

I’m like, “Get your groceries, then we get the Zax, then we get the movie.” BOOM. Scheduling; I has it.

Aldi’s! Lots of people are like, what, ALDI’S?, like super elitist about it. I don’t even care. Because boxed mac and cheese is boxed mac and cheese. It just costs a quater here. Michelle Mackelmores all down the aisles: “But sh-t, it was ninety-nine cents!”

Forget we have to bag all our own groceries. That’s comical. I feed Millie tiny pieces of Cadbury creme egg.

ZAXBY’S! Michelle says Dad gave her some money when she came up to visit Virginia last week, for “gas”. Dad is legit the most generous man alive. I’m going to tell you something, my father paid for our entire trip to Puerto Rico. I meant to say something earlier. We had money put aside and used a lot of it for medical stuff with Addie, like the MRI, and didn’t feel comfortable taking the trip with any emergency funds. So we were going to put it off, and he was like, NOPE. YOU’RE GOING. YOU NEED THIS. I HAVE THE BILL. And when everything was more expensive than we expected, he sent us a note, really serious: Do you need more money? Tell me and I will give you more money.

On one hand, like, I hope my dad knows we’re actually really responsible with our funds and can handle whatever gets thrown at us. He instilled independence and money sense in us really early, so– I feel super prepared. I hope he knows I never NEED it. On the other hand– who doesn’t like being spoiled by their Daddy? Heh. It took me a while to admit it out loud, but it’s one of the few things left that makes me still feel like a kid. It’s sweet. I do love that he’s like, “Here’s some cash, go buy a toy, let’s get ice cream,” because it’s the gesture. It’s not the money. It’s the meaning behind it: you’ll always be my little girl, and I want you to be happy.

So Dad essentially bought us lunch. Shell used some of the leftover money, and I sent him a message to let him know he’s the best.

On the way back, or maybe on the way there, Michelle and I talk Stuebenville. If you don’t know me in person– or maybe if I don’t demonstrate it on the blog– I am REALLY cold when it comes to justice. I have a very sensitive heart towards a lot of things, but certain issues– especially abuse of children or rape– I’m so line in the sand, one-strike-you’re-out about it. Like, if I were the judge, I’d hand out a sentence and sleep like a baby afterward. I’m ranting at Shell like, “I could give a RAT’S ASS about those boys crying. I could give an eff about their future. They’re grown boys and they assaulted another person, and the only thing they’re upset about is that they got caught. As far as I’m concerned, the punishment is barely enough, and every single adult that in any way covered this up or aided these boys or their friends should be brought to trial, too.”

I’m livid about the coverage of this, too. Can we just pause a minute and break this down: A GIRL GOT RAPED. A girl was gang assaulted, and there was MEDIA EVIDENCE OF THE ASSAULT. That’s the bottom line. SHE is the victim. She is the ONLY victim. And here’s the other thing: we need to back the fuck off of our victims. I don’t care what she was doing, or where she was, or what happened previous to this. I don’t care if she was drunk. Unless the person says YES, it is RAPE. I have no time for apologists with this or people who try to victim blame. We have so many excuses for why this happens. So many bullshit excuses.

Oh, she was at a party with a man she didn’t know.
Oh, she was at a party with a man she did know.
Oh, she was dressed in a way a man found attractive.
Oh, she was taking a bus too late at night.
Oh, she was jogging by herself.
Oh, she was drinking with her friends.

You know what? NO. This is NOT OUR FAULT, and we, as women, need to get ANGRY that these stupid, unjust “rules” are put on our gender, because in accepting them, we agree that we are in some way complicit when we are violated. We agree that, yes, we don’t have the right to alcohol in mixed company. We don’t have the right to walk around our own neighborhoods or cities. We don’t have the right to assume our personal boundaries will not be invaded. We’re accepting that we should abide by rules that effectively make us second class citizens.

Okay. That’s out. Soapbox over. It just really needs to be said. It cannot be said enough.

Back to Michelle’s house. Put Millie down for a nap. Watch ‘Anna Karenina’. Disc is broken. WHAT. Try two more times. No.

I call Redbox. A guy named Anthony apologizes and says he’ll send me two free codes. Okay. When I hang up, Michelle laments, “But I really wanted to see this movie.”

“Me too.”

“Well, let’s see if it’s on demand or anything.”

IT IS. Michelle buys it.

Movie is amaaaazing. It’s kind of horrible, actually, as far as a linear story goes (“I feel like someone just took drugs, read the book, took a nap, and that dream is this film,” Michelle quips), but people are all coming in and out with super British accents (RIGHT-O, GOOD CHAP! LET’S DABBLE IN A LITTLE RUMPY PUMPY!) (Michelle: “Aren’t they Russian?”) and then there’s lots of long stares and weird dialogue, and it becomes so ridiculous it circles back around into entertaining. One of the female leads is Princess Kitty. I say it out loud to Michelle, like, PRIN-CESS. KITTY.

This little fourteen year old looking kid named Boris is trying to get with Princess Kitty, and he’s not smooth at all. He’s like, May I have this dance, my sweet Princess Kitty? and she’s like, I suppose I have one spot left on my dance card, and he goes, HA HA! I HAVE FINALLY CONQUERED YOU! or something else similar that made Michelle and I side-eye each other.

Becca: This kid is weird, and he has no game.
Michelle: I know. He’s the worst.
Becca: Oh, here he goes. He’s trying again.
Michelle: UH, CAN I SEE YOUR BOOBS?

While I’m laughing, she adds, “I mean, um… may I have the privilege of gazing upon your royal breasts?” I can’t even breathe. Her: “You know in his mind he’s like, NAILED IT, BORIS!”

Nothing happens for a long time and nobody hooks up. Keira Knightley and the boy from Kickass dance together. And everyone starts gossiping. Because of their dance. It was too passionate a waltz, apparently, even though it was the exact same thing everyone else at the ball was doing. Then they finally DO get together, Let’s Give Them Something To Talk about style, and the most bizarre bedroom scene ensues.

Becca: …
Michelle: …
Becca: … I don’t. No.
Michelle: No. I don’t either.
Becca: That’s not how you do that.
Michelle: No, it isn’t. Is she BEHIND him?
Television: You murdered my happiness! YOU MURDERED MY HAPPINESS!
Becca: NO!
Michelle: Is this supposed to be sexy?
Television: YOU MURDERED MY HAPPINESS!
Becca: YOU SLAUGHTERED MY DREAMS!
Michelle: YOU RUINED MY LIFE!

I’m cry-laughing. WHAT. And then Anna is like I’M PREGNANT and Michelle and I gasp. “It’s so obvious,” I admitted, “and yet I totally didn’t see that coming.”

Then Millie wakes up and I have to go to the school. It’s so sunny outside! Seventy degrees, three clouds in the sky. Perfection.

I volunteer in Eli’s classroom about an hour a week, so I handle that. On the way out, my phone beeps to let me know Shell updated Facebook. She’s at Erin’s house! One street away!

Stop by and park, sneak around back because I can hear them gossiping on the patio. “LADDDIES!” I shriek, and they shriek. It’s Erin, Shell, and all the youngest girls– Quinn, Charley, and Millie. I take a seat. It’s warmed by the sun and Erin has my favorite water bottle I left at her house. Drink ice water from it. Gossip. Enjoy the heat. The girls are playing with Play-Doh on the table and their tiny Sims-like voices are delicious.

Hang out for about an hour. Head home. Bus arrives, kids are back, kiss their heads. Shell comes over, and we do chalk and bubbles and bike riding together. Michelle makes huge bubbles that the children chase all over the neighborhood. Millie keeps screaming, I CAN’T REACH! I CAN’T REACH! and it’s almost as funny to us as Boris was earlier.

Today

Jason is sick so he comes home instead of going to the gym. I miss him a lot. He goes to the gym four days a week now (I don’t think I mentioned this, he’s lost over twenty pounds and is in great shape these days), and while I love and get his commitment to his health, I also like seeing him before eight at night. So this is a treat.

We cuddle up and watch ‘Argo’. I fall asleep. I always fall asleep at movies. Always. Wake up during the last thirty minutes, so I still fit some of the best parts in.

Then it was the normal bedtime routine for the kids– food, medicine, homework, books, tuck in, don’t fight, don’t kick, get back into bed, I already gave you a glass of milk, did you brush your teeth like I asked– and now I’m here, talking to you, telling you about my Tuesday.

That was it. That was my Tuesday. It was just lovely.

My husband’s texting me from upstairs and asking if I’m done, and I think I am. I’ll bring him some hot chai, we’ll start ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, and I’ll pass out again in twenty minutes. Heh. Nice way to go out. Nice way to wrap this up.

I’m just so happy, guys. I’m so happy right now– I can’t even remember the last time everything was so wonderful. I just feel so lucky to wake up and be a part of this family, this home, this place again tomorrow.

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