The Alternative Easter Weekend

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With my son away for a few days, I didn’t have any great plans for the Easter weekend.

‘Do you fancy having a few drinks tonight?’ I asked Robyn as we lolled around on the sofas in front of yet another DVD, ‘I haven’t been drunk in ages!’

We decided on a superhero movie marathon, poured ourselves some generous glasses of vodka and put out the feelers for some weed. Marijuana is usually in abundance around here but for some reason, when Robyn and I fancied smoking our cares away, there was none to be found.

‘No weed, but loads of coke,’ Perry text me.

Encouraging Perry’s cocaine problem by telling him to pick me up a couple of grams probably wasn’t my smartest move. He’s been king cunt to Jemima recently and what I should have done is tell him to go straight home. Even if I had he wouldn’t have listened, so I figured keeping him nearby would at least ensure he kept his dick in his pants and wasn’t off making bad decisions that were detrimental to his and Jemima’s relationship.

I was suitably tipsy as I pulled out a DVD case and bank card and started making little neat rows of white powder. I looked at Robyn and Perry, their eyes glued to my every movement in anticipation,

‘This is going to last us two minutes,’ I noted.

‘Call Samson,’ Perry suggested, ‘he said he’d come over if Robyn asked him to’.

I shot her a huge smile. Samson is the local drug dealer and has harboured quite the crush on our dear Robyn ever since she moved to our sleepy little rural town.

‘I’m not fucking him,’ she said.

Perry and I assured her she wouldn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to and that we would help her fight off his advances if necessary. Samson tried to play hard to get for a while but Robyn’s genius, if slightly trashy, move of sending him a picture of her vagina seemed to seal the deal.

Upon his arrival, Samson plonked himself on the sofa next to Robyn and started racking up some l. Perry and I discussed Superman’s indestructibility and how only the Hulk could possibly contain him. The vodka red bulls slid down my throat effortlessly. The cocaine went up my nostrils just as easily.

‘What’s that?’ Samson asked, pointing to my copy of Tolstoy’s War And Peace that rested next to the sofa.

Samson is not known for his intellect. Maybe his huge stature is to blame for the lack of blood getting to his brain, or maybe being so bloody tall and walking around with your head literally in the clouds all day stunts your intellectual capabilities. Whatever the excuse, it leaves him open to ridicule, usually the kind he doesn’t actually understand,

‘It’s a book. Have you ever seen one before?’ Robyn’s harsh tongue replied.

Apparently that was a question Samson wasn’t able to answer.

As is typical of the drunk and the drug addled, Perry and I babbled on for some time about every topic imaginable to man, confidently sharing our thoughts and opinions and believing our own bullshit, when suddenly I realised we were alone,

‘Where have they gone? Are they having sex?’

Perry looked at me out of the corner of his eye, a sly smile on his face and an expression that suggested I’d just asked the world’s most stupid question,

‘Yep,’ came his simple reply.

Just then, my phone began to ring,

‘Lola, there’s been a fight, can I bring Jammer round to get cleaned up?’ Isaac asked in a voice that seemed to be gasping for breath.

I quickly agreed and within minutes he, Jammer and Miles were stood on my doorstep, a high and blood stained trio. Jammer wasn’t looking too pretty. As I carefully washed the blood from his face and surveyed the inch long gash to his eyebrow, he told me how our mutual friends, Billy and Jake, had insulted his girlfriend and, when defending her honour, he had found himself wielding a broken bottle at the pair of them. Less than impressed by Jammer’s reaction, Billy and Jake had proceeded to pummel the life out of him and completed their violent masterpiece by stamping on his face.

I was shocked. I knew Billy and Jake enjoyed a scrap, I’ve witnessed enough of them in the past and cleaned them up after a few too, but this seemed extreme even for them. I concluded they had obviously taken something earlier in the evening that had turned them into blood thirsty savages, but Isaac disagreed,

‘They’d had a couple of beers and a couple lines of coke, that’s all,’ he protested, ‘Billy was pissed off anyway because of the footy results’.

Billy and I are both ardent Chelsea FC fans and I was also disheartened by their loss that day, but it seemed like an unlikely excuse for wailing so hard on a supposed friend.

I was struggling to stem the flow of blood from Jammer’s eyebrow,

‘You need to go to the hospital first thing in the morning,’ I told him as I removed one crimson soaked bandage from his head and replaced it with a new one, ‘this definitely needs stitches, probably three or four’.

Jammer wasn’t so keen on the idea but was convinced when I told him his entire eyebrow looked like it was going to collapse over his eye if he didn’t get the correct medical treatment sooner rather than later,

‘Don’t worry,’ I reassured him, ‘eyebrow scars are kinda hot!’

A few drinks and cigarettes later and the wired trio expressed their appreciation and made their way home. Samson had left too, leaving just Perry, me and a woeful Robyn.

‘Why did I do that? I didn’t want that, I kind of felt obliged to sleep with him but I really didn’t want to. And it was shit,’ she moaned, clearly disappointed with herself and her recent sexual encounter, ‘ewww, what was I thinking? Is it possible to rape yourself? That’s how it feels’.

Robyn was shaking her head from side to side inbetween taking long drags on her cigarette. She continued to berate herself and slate Samson’s sexual prowess,

‘His facial expression never changes, even when he comes!’

‘We’ve all slept with someone we’ve regretted’, I consoled.

I looked over at Perry nodding his head in agreement. He’s made some huge mistakes in the sexual conquest category, most of them while still being in a relationship with Jemima. He really is a giant shit, but I can’t help feeling sorry for him. It’s obvious to him and I that our friendship is founded on our mutual understanding of each other. We are both mentally unstable fuck ups with the inability to deal with our issues in a normal, healthy way. We both try to fuck, drink or snort away our worries and never learn that we’re actually making things worse for ourselves. He should never have come round. We should never have bought that coke. Jemima was going to be pissed and disappointed with both of us.

Robyn took herself off to bed while Perry and I watched Captain America and snoozed on the sofa. As the sun started to come up on Easter Sunday, I fished the car key out of my bra, where I had stored it to ensure Perry didn’t drink and drive. He was in a terrible car accident a few years ago, when he was hit by the Christmas Coca Cola lorry and thrown 90ft out of the front windscreen. At the time his face was so messed up Jemima said it looked like a vagina, bits of flesh flapping all over the place. I suspect Perry had been drinking that night too and so has now used up all his lucky tokens when it comes to mixing alcohol and motor vehicles.

I sent him out into the cold Spring morning with instructions to make it up to Jemima for the both of us. I doubt he did.

When I settled back down under the duvet on my sofa, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. Domestic disputes, blood and guts, drugs and sex…just a regular Saturday night at Lola’s!

The Date With The Dad

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Years ago I worked in a quaint little country pub as a barmaid. Bar work has always been my default career and, despite the older clientèle and my eventual dismissal for fucking the boss’ son, it was a job I really enjoyed. I had a genuine fondness for the pub landlord. Most people thought he was a grumpy old bastard but in ways he reminded me of my own father…a good looking, self made man with a wicked sense of humour and undeniable drink problem.

One quiet Monday evening the Landlord propped up the end of the bar while I found ways to keep myself busy, polishing glasses and cleaning shelves. Near the end of my shift a group of five off duty firemen walked into the bar. They were in good spirits and all happy to flirt with their blonde, busty barmaid.

‘Look at you!’ the Landlord laughed, ‘ male attention and you’re walking on air!’

He wasn’t wrong. Ever since I can remember, a look or a compliment from a member of the opposite sex and my day is guaranteed to get a little brighter. And yes, I appreciate that I probably need to discuss the roots of my self worth with a therapist.

The landlord died a couple of years ago and I don’t mind admitting I shed a few tears for that grouchy Glaswegian bastard. I thought of him warmly this morning when, after weeks of self loathing and depression induced self-neglect, I found myself walking on air because of some male attention.

The last few weeks have seen little fun and sunshine in the house of Lola. Highlights have been collecting prozac from the pharmacist, working out the possibility of performing a home tonsillectomy with an ice-cream scoop and the risky but amusing game of ‘fart or shart?’. Robyn has been hit with a particularly vicious case of tonsillitis so, in the spirit of good friendship, I offered to take her children to school today.

I looked like shit. I haven’t washed my hair in over a week, I’ve been wearing the same panties for the last two days and I am pretty sure I can smell myself. The plan was to avoid all human contact, drop the kids off as swiftly as possible and return to the sanctuary of my duvet and Kingdom Hearts on the PS3. We arrived at the school gates earlier than anticipated and so loitered haphazardly outside while the teachers busied themselves indoors. It would appear that Wednesday mornings are Dads Day For The School Run. One man arrived with an exuberant four year old in tow, followed by another, then another.

‘Alexander, stop that,’ Mr.Dad scowled at his son rattling the chain fence, ‘I don’t know where they get their energy from. The morning ritual is always such a drama!’

I glanced over at Robyn’s children sitting patiently on a nearby bench. It was hard to sympathise with Mr.Dad when my morning had been a pleasantly uneventful few hours of breakfast, duck feeding and leisurely strolling,

‘My son is 14 now, so all I need to do is shout him out of bed,’ I nodded in the direction of my two well behaved charges, ‘just reliving the old days though with my niece and nephew here’.

They may not be related by blood, but Auntie Lola loves those kids, plus its easier claiming family ties than explaining Robyn and I are two single mothers who live together but aren’t lesbians.

‘My eldest is 22 now. Much easier!’ Mr. Dad replied.

A very pretty brunette woman unlocked the school gates and greeted all the little people with a warm, welcoming smile. Mr.Dad was regaling me with tales of lost swimming kits, children’s shoe shopping and the hunt for healthy packed lunch items,

‘Well you can take five minutes now and grab yourself a coffee,’ I sympathised.

Mr.Dad smiled, ‘thats exactly what I’m going to do. Fancy joining me?’

I looked a mess. I was tired, uncomfortable and self conscious. I needed to hide myself away from the general public as soon as possible. I have no idea why I said yes.

Mr.Dad and I drove to a nearby hotel and, in a very civilised manner, proceeded to spend an hour sat in their lounge drinking mugs of coffee and sharing a plate of shortbread biscuits. I sank into the overstuffed sofa as the conversation remained polite, if limited to the rollercoaster of child raising and being working parents. Yes, it was weird. Usually men only take me to hotels to fuck me and even then its only when I’ve got a face full of make up and have bothered to shave my legs. I pondered his motives and intentions as the gold wedding band on his finger sparkled in the Spring sunshine. For a brief moment I held some hope that he was my fairy godfather and was going to shower me with cash, tuition fees for my next educational project and the French manicure that I so desperately need. But the truth is, the time we spent together was just an enjoyable, random event that meant nothing more than to give two weary souls a simplistic outlet for the trials of their busy mornings.

Our nerves soothed and our anxieties alleviated, we parted ways as swiftly as we had met. I don’t even remember his name, but I owe him a huge debt. I walked home with my head held high and a wiggle to my hips, an inner confidence that I haven’t felt in weeks.

‘Male attention and you’re walking on air!’

James Franco Saved My Life

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There was the Great Depression of ’98 and the Breakdown of 2012. My most recent mental health slump, characterised by lashings of self loathing and the inability to do anything remotely productive, will undoubtedly come to be known as the Meltdown of 2014.

As usual, I saw the signs of depression looming like a toxic mushroom cloud on my horizon but I was far too busy to acknowledge it. I had to work. I had to parent. I had to do a million and one things that, in the long run, really didn’t achieve anything other than to distract me from taking care of myself. The Meltdown of 2014 didn’t catch me by surprise, but it hit harder than anticipated.

4 weeks have passed and getting off the sofa has become somewhat of an achievement. I have spent my long, dull days trying to numb the persistent agony of my own failings with computer games and movies. I tried so desperately to read, to lose myself in literature and rediscover an exuberance for life amidst someone else’s carefully chosen words, however my depression had cruelly robbed me of the patience and concentration for books. My greatest love suffocated by my greatest foe.

Movies and computer games were different. Their bright flashes of colour and incessant sounds led me through their stories with little effort on my part. I was entertained, distracted, without having to invest anything of myself. I watched This Is The End, a movie I bought for my son at Christmas that instantly became a hit with me when it referenced the rapture and saw Rhianna sucked into a lava filled, hell bound sink hole. Then I watched Homefront…a Jason Statham movie with glimpses of Statham playing somebody other than Jason Statham. There was the heart wrenching love story of Tristan and Isolde and the delightfully amusing Disney film, Oz The Great And Powerful. The one constant in all of these movies was Mr. James Franco.

The occasional fanny flutter triggered by a movie actor is not enough to send me into a spiral of lustful hormonal teenage girl behaviour. I am a mature, intelligent woman. I can appreciate a good looking man without wanting to doodle his name all over my notebooks. I don’t have to stalk him on Facebook just because he looks hot as a meth cooking redneck, which Franco does, by the way. But I must admit that a quick Google of ‘James Franco’ revealed he is so much more than another American pretty boy. I am now shamelessly crushing like a bitch on heat, aroused by the intellect and creative capabilities of this man across the Atlantic.

Actor, director, writer, blogger, painter and poet, there is no stone Franco is afraid to unturn.  He enrolled at UCLA in  2006 as an English major and also studied  French, the Holocaust, philosophy of science and American literature. He then moved to New York so he could simultaneously attend graduate schools at Columbia University‘s MFA writing programNew York University‘s Tisch School of the Arts for filmmaking and Brooklyn College for fiction writing. During this time he also attended the low-residency MFA Program for Writers at North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College for poetry. Franco is a PhD student in English at Yale University and also attended the Rhode Island School of Design. His studies have never got in the way of his other pursuits or suffered because of them. It is rumoured that he happily studies on set, reading endless textbooks while wedged in a canyon for the movie 127 Hours. He has taught at USC, UCLA, CalArts and NYU in both the Film and English departments.

I am the same age as Franco and, in all honesty, I suspect he’s found some miracle pill that allows him to be awake and alert for 22 out of the 24 hours in a day, either that or he’s a functional amphetamine addict, because a timetable of commitments that exhausting is beyond my thirtysomething capabilities. But I respect it. I envy it. I see his life and the opportunities that have presented themselves to him, or been created by him, and instead of wallowing in my own failings, I am inspired. Franco’s mind appears as curious as my own once was. His thirst for knowledge and fearless endeavours towards a greater wisdom remind me of how I was never sated by small tidbits of information. I always needed to know more, to search deeper into a topic than was necessary. Where did that part of me go? How did I let my past traumas and consequent depression take away the part of me that always burnt the brightest?

Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is a novel that I’ve always wanted to read but have never got around to. My bookshelf bows under the weight of feminist theology literature, classic novels of British, Russian and American authors and the writings of great philosophers. I am not ashamed that there is some literature out there that I have not yet read as I know I will get to them eventually. In the case of Faulkner, that time will be sooner rather than later. James Franco directed the film adaptation of the novel and, as keen as I am to feast my eyes on what will undoubtedly be an emotional cinematic triumph, I refuse to watch it until I’ve read the book. I really want to read the book. I’ve ordered it, along with countless other tales that I once loved, like Wuthering Heights, ones I should have already read such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and ones that may teach me more about myself, as I suspect Coelho’s Veronika Decides To Die will do. When I am done with those, Franco’s own collection of short stories, Palo Alto, surely needs to grace my bookshelves.

James Franco may not have personally removed the noose from around my neck, but he has inadvertently awoken part of me that I had long forgotten about. He has helped me see my own personal reasons for living.  My love of literature, my desire to always know more, the knowledge that I am capable of greater things if only I tried. The fire in me is renewed thanks to a well worn Amazon account and an American pretty boy named James Franco.

Weekly Update #46

Firstly, let me assure you that normal Lola service will be resumed shortly. I just need to let the prozac kick in and the self loathing subside and then we’re all good!

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In brief, Northern SD and I are still going strong. My brief mental interlude combined with Mother Nature prematurely dropping the period bomb (Hey Smithson! I’m not pregnant!!!) meant I had to cancel our date but we have rescheduled for next week. He’s promised to pamper me with a night in a luxurious hotel. I’m such a lucky girl!

Too Good To Be True text me this week to. Apparently he’d been thinking about me and wondered how I was doing. I suspect my response of ‘off my tits on temazepam’ wasn’t the response he was expecting. I don’t know quite what he’s playing at but it’s probably too little too late. I really liked him. He had potential. Then he disappeared off the face of the earth for two months. He’s going to have to try really hard to get back in my good books.  Just like Junior. And yes, the young’un is still trying, ‘you’re a milf’. Pfft.

Anyway, it’s time I resumed my seat in the rocking chair and started staring blankly out the window at all the passing ‘normal’ people. I may also need to look into purchasing more cats. One is most definitely not enough for a woman of my emotional instability! I’ll be back on the blogging and dating quest in a couple of weeks, once I learn to type quicker in this straight jacket! Promise!

Sex: 0

Alcohol: 0

Drugs: Lots and lots…but they’re all prescribed by my lovely, incredibly understanding and tolerant doctor!

Physical Health: Good.

Mental Health: Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahahahaha!

Batshit Crazy? Moi?

The National Health Service in Great Britain has this incredible department called the Mental Health Crisis Team. This crisis team are essentially the first responders to situations where people’s lives are in danger because their mental health problems have become too severe.

In 2012, after hearing my utter desperation during a late night telephone conversation, a friend called our local crisis team and expressed her concern for my welfare. Within the hour two psychiatric nurses were sat on my sofa playing witness to the sobbing, broken mess that I had become. They tolerated my dishevelled appearance, chain smoking and endless pleas to let me give up on everything. They listened with great empathy as I told them of the life struggles that had led me to conclude that I was a failure, that my life was worthless and that I simply didn’t have the strength to carry on.

Over the following weeks these two wonderful women put together enough of the shattered pieces of my very being to get me out from under the duvet and away from the vodka laced bottle of diet coke that was always by my side. They did it without judgement or criticism. They helped me deal with the fallout of my breakdown; late bill payments, work complications, medication and doctors appointments. They walked with me to the shops when I couldn’t face going alone. They tended to the sores on my arms, a by-product of my anxiety induced scratching. They made me eat when I couldn’t even look at food. Every aspect of living had become too much for me, but slowly these mental health angels helped me deal with it all.

The problem with the crisis team is that as soon as you’re walking, talking and appearing to function like a normal human being, they’re gone. It’s not their fault, its in their job description. Once you’re no longer at risk of jumping off the nearest railway bridge you’re passed onto another department and these nurses who essentially saved your life are no longer part of your support system. It makes sense I guess. I can see from my own experiences alone that becoming dependant on them could become an issue.

I was one of the patients that fell through the cracks of the overworked, under financed mental health system, once I was discharged from the care of the crisis team. My doctor issued me pills in good faith, but never monitored my usage or abuse of them. Therapists filled in questionnaires and took notes, but never offered any solutions. The crisis team were my yellow brick road,  sending me on my journey to recovery and happiness, but the rest of the system turned out not to be an all healing wizard, but a mockery behind an elaborate curtain.

I pulled myself out of my pit of despair just enough to see what others expected from me and to be able to fake my life accordingly. I worked, I socialised. I began to believe my own lies and for a while, a good, long while, it worked. I stopped taking my medications and felt no negative repercussions because of it. I made life plans, years in advance, because I genuinely wanted to fulfil my goals and dreams. I was better, or so I thought. Anyone who has read this blog at some length will have recognised the emotional rollercoaster that is my life. Sometimes I’m ready to kick life’s arse and will take on the world with ruthless determination. Other times I’m hitting the self destruct button and hiding from my problems with sex, drugs and alcohol. Sometimes I’m just a plain old miserable bitch.

Recently I have found it near impossible to deal with the minor glitches life has thrown at me. Recently the panic attacks have come thick and fast over the most trivial of dilemmas. This is not a good sign. I know what comes next…sofa, duvet, bottle of diet coke laced with vodka. I don’t want to go there again. I want to be the person who faces life, who can cope with everyday hurdles, who isn’t always looking for the easy escape.

Last week I called the crisis team. I need to stop lying to myself. A while ago I wrote a post to my future Mr.Right. In it I said I would work on myself, on my faults and my flaws, so that when we eventually meet up I am the fun loving woman he deserves. That work starts today. My doctor has prescribed me medications for depression and anxiety. I am signed up for a full time, intensive psychotherapy course and the crisis team are monitoring my day to day mental health concerns.  As the cliché goes, I have been too strong for too long, and my coping mechanisms for high levels of stress and emotional pain are not healthy long term solutions. I have admitted to myself, finally, that I need help. I need some guidance to make me a better version of myself. The time for embracing my batshit craziness is over, not because it hasn’t been a whole heap of fun, but because I can’t spend the rest of my life risking my sanity for the ultimate highs and then barely surviving the excruciatingly painful lows. I’m too old and its too exhausting!

I’ve decided to hand my mental stability over to the professionals. I’ll take the pills they want me to take. I’ll attend the therapies they want me to attend. I will not dance around like a fucking tree in some hippy happy clappy group therapy bullshit, but I think everyone has their limits. Mostly, I’ll stop being the stubborn old cow in the corner who says she’s ok. The anxiety and the depression can’t keep winning. It’s time I took my own advice…one day at a time.

Weekly Update #45

HAPPY STEAK AND BLOW JOB DAY!

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I’m not really a fan of steak and there’s no man here to offer a blow job to so this fabulous little day, a counteraction against the female focused Valentine’s day, is somewhat redundant for me. Maybe next year hey!

The rain may have dried up and spring may have finally sprung, but much to my disappointment there seems to be little in the way of fresh starts during this season of new beginnings. In fact, I seem to have taken a few steps backwards when it comes to life. The dream career of professional writer is on hold until I can afford a new laptop and the dreaded tax man has thrown my financial situation into turmoil, thus rendering my personal savings into something akin to a collection of coppers in a kiddies piggy bank. It’s hugely embarrassing and very disheartening that after all my adult years of studying and working I still find myself struggling with issues like this. Am I not meant to be more accomplished by now? I’m sure 15 year old Lola’s life plan expected more from me by now!
Anyway, where some areas of my life have reached a standstill, or even regressed, others slowly move forward…

Northern SD – Much to my disappointment, the Northern Sugar Daddy and I will not be meeting up this week. A miscommunication led him to believe that not only was I unavailable, but that I wasn’t all that keen in the first place. I hadn’t heard from him all weekend so sent him a happy, light hearted text message on Tuesday morning. He was thrilled to hear from me and, with the metaphorical crossed wires successfully uncrossed, we have arranged to meet up next week. I guess the anticipation created by having to wait a little longer can only add to the fun!

Junior – ‘I’m sorry…I got scared…I’ve manned up now…let me have you’…blah, blah, blah! I’ve lost count of how many men have led me on, dropped my arse without any indication as to why and then came crawling back months later with the bullshit ‘I got scared’ excuse. It fails to impress me and I’m really not a fan of second chances unless there are exceptional circumstances. Junior is not exceptional, but he is kind of cute. I’d like to completely fucking ruin him in bed and teach him a lesson. Still, it’s going to take a little more effort on his part before I cave to his young lad demands.

Smithson – Ladies, ladies, ladies! Can we please stop with the passive aggressive tone! I met up with him, and consequently slept with him, because I wanted to not because of some weird competitive blogger shag quest! My night with Smithson did not render him useless to all other women. He is not bound and gagged in my basement, hidden from the prying eyes of all other females. As far as I am aware, his dick still works perfectly well inside other vaginas (…and mouths…and arseholes). Ergo…he’s still fair game! Try using the time you spent sending me hate mail in a more fulfilling, spread the love, kind of way. Trust me, that’s much more attractive than stealing our pets and ramming them in a slow cooker!

The Tattooed One – Unsurprisingly I’ve heard nothing from him since the whole cock-cloning disappointment. I’d pretend to be bothered but, meh!

Alcohol: After Saturday’s all day drinking session its safe to say I’ve stayed away from the demon drink for the last few days. My kidneys are undoubtedly relieved!

Drugs: 0

Sex: Since Smithson, none…although its only been 6 days so give a girl a break!
Physical Health: Ok. Still breathing!

Mental Health: Hmmm…this is a whole new story which I promise to tell very soon but, in brief, things are not good. Really not good. The anxiety and stress of general living, combined with PTSD, have made existence a little less bearable than usual. I’m barely keeping my shit together but, with the help of an understanding son and my extremely tolerant and supportive housemate, Robyn, I’m hoping I can keep it together for a little bit longer.