Current View from Behind Mrs. Wonderful’s Computer

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We never took down the blog. I sometimes thought it might be a good idea, but it seemed like a lot of work. So I didn’t. Rex-Goliath asked me tonight what a blog was. What better way to show him?

So maybe I’ll update.

Life is vastly different than it was three years ago. Insanely different.

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Our kids are kids. Legit kids. Chloë is in middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. Rex-Goliath is in first grade. And Xavier (of whom is known as “The Babby” and shall remain The Babby until he is well into his thirties) is finishing up preschool.

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We have had some good times. Three more Smell Ya Later School parties. One first annual Christmas party. We have made new friends in our cool little university neighborhood. We’ve moved on from Thomas the Tank Engine to Cars to Star Wars. We build with the little Legos now. Duplos are history. We are reading the Little House on the Prairie books because Mama read them as a child and the boys seem to like them.

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Dan is going to graduate around the same time I do. Computer science. He likes to code and program and all that. He has a knack for it. He enjoys it.

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I have six weeks left of didactic work before clinical rotations. I feel as if I have been presented with so much information in the past 3 years, yet remember nothing. Allegedly, you learn everything on rotations. I’m counting on that. I have tried to wring every last drop out of this pharmacy school thing. I work two jobs (best way to learn). I have a niece. I am heavily involved with an amazing student-run free clinic as well as a national organization for clinics of this type. I ran a 7K. I have aspirations and I’m leaving it all on the field.

This rock and roll lifestyle isn’t easy. We have 5 people in a 2 bedroom place. Dan is sometimes trapped with the kids for days because I am gone. The man does so much to make it easy for me to go to school. I sometimes go 48 hours without being able to cuddle with my kids. There are people I call family and friends that I never see. We are student loan living. With one car. We are making it work though. 

The end is in sight.

So is the beginning.

 

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Crazy math professors and paper chains

Aloha from Team Member Elizabeth, at the new house.
It feels a lot bigger than the “Ugly House” since it’s two levels, but the place is actually smaller. Didn’t stop me from joining the crew! I’ve made a cozy bedroom beneath the nearly-four-year-old’s bed, which is below the loft of the eight year old, and is next to the crib of the 17-month-old. We’ve all got our little places and, being the teenager, I admit it’s not terrible at all. I’m starting to like watching The Bachelor with Leah, eating “ice cream” sandwiches after the kids have gone to bed (don’t tell anybody I know!).
Dinners are quality time. Daddy’s hand might stop on you and turn you into the biggest Torcho in the world; the red sauce will possibly transform you into a teleportating zombie baby. Polenta may give you magical underwear powers and Garbage Meal could make you grow facial hair you have to shave after dinner. You really never know. The few things to expect are “I DON’T WANNA DO NAPKINS!” or “I wan’ big fork!” and of course “Dig in!” which cannot be said loud enough.
The trains are chugging along and everyone is still alive (for now)…..
Tah tah for now everyone.

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The End of an Era

We are moving.

Tonight is our final night at the Ranchero De-Luxe, and I have been surprisingly sentimental about the place. It shouldn’t be surprising. We brought Rex-Goliath home from the hospital when we lived here. We planned, financed, and threw a wedding when we lived here. I went into labor with Xavier here. We had terrible fights, funny jokes, sad moments, and live-changing ecstatic times. The Big Plan was both conceived and realized on this patch of beige carpet that I am currently sitting on. We came up with the “Smell Ya Later, School” Party concept at our kitchen table. Both boys learned to crawl and walk, said their first words, threw their first tantrums. Chloë started kindergarten, lost her first tooth, had her first slumber party, and learned to ride a bike here. Dan and I both went back to school here. Chuckë lived and died here. A lot of hard work and time has been put in here. We have cleaned a metric ton of child vomit off of the floor here. We became a family here.

Tomorrow morning, we will move into the Family Student Housing at the University of Minnesota. For the most part, this is a move up in the world. We’ll have two levels. It will be a better commute for me next fall.

But we’ll have no pug dog. Grandma Vicky has graciously taken the crazy messed-up dog. P. Puggs and I have been through a lot – she used to curl up behind my knees in a sleeping bag when we lived in a house that none of the residents could afford to heat, we subsisted on peanut butter crackers for months when finances were tight. She has put up with so much tail-pulling and eye-poking from kids. She will be missed, but now she has a doggie friend (Tate) and someone to dote on her. No one pulls her tail at Gramma Vicky’s. All dogs go to heaven.

It feels appropriate to move at this juncture. A lot has changed in four years – we have a good thing going. We are ready for the next phase – on to bigger and better things. Stay tuned.

Bonus pic for Ashlee, because she thinks that it is funny that I label my boxes with words like “crap.” It is not funny, however, that Dan labels boxes containing my Martha Stewart magazine collection with “stupid magazines.”

— Mrs. Wonderful

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Phase 1 is Over

We never had a Plan B. So I guess it is a pretty good thing that Plan A is going, well, according to plan.

Today, this very morning, I received an email from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities offering me admission to their Pharm D program. I feel like I just delivered a baby. A three year-old baby.

We have been at this for some time. This little plan was hatched shortly after Rex-Goliath was born, and the kid is nearly four. I want to make this clear: this whole thing was a joint effort. Long before I was even able to enroll in classes, Dan was working two (sometimes three) jobs to make this financially possible. There were weeks where I was hardly home because I was studying microbiology. I didn’t do dishes for an entire semester. The man is amazingly supportive, and I am so lucky to have him.

For those of you not familiar with the process, getting in to pharmacy school is the hardest part. In general, if you can get in, you will graduate. It takes a long time – you cannot just decide to apply and be done with it the next day. They look at a lot of factors – GPA, PCAT score, extracurricular activities, leadership, volunteering. You have to write an essay summing up your life and your desire to be a pharmacist that cannot be longer than a page. You have to enter every single college transcript you have into the application system (PharmCAS), despite the fact that you have to send the damn things to PharmCAS anyway. I have six transcripts under several aliases. Just tracking all of those down took time (and fees). Then they take weeks to verify that what you entered matches what is actually on the paper copy. And they charge you $150 plus $50 for each additional school (I applied to seven). Then you fill out supplemental applications, repeating much of the information you already put on the PharmCas application. You write about a billion essays. You pay about $50 a supplemental. At this point, you’ve so much money on fees that you feel as if you are throwing wads of cash out the window. You have to endure the nerve-wracking interview while wearing pantyhose. If you are the spouse, you have to listen to the applicant talk about this crap ad nauseum. For years. And then you wait.

The whole thing has felt like a big checklist. After every semester (heck, every exam), I would say a little prayer of thanks (even though I am atheist) and breathe a sigh of relief. After the PCAT. After the interview. Things have gone so smoothly up until this point, it seemed like I was due for a hurdle. I was preparing myself to be waitlisted.

I wasn’t even expecting the news to arrive until tomorrow. And I was expecting snail mail, not email. I was wondering if Dan would intercept it while I was at class. And if the envelope was thing vs. thick, would that be an indicator. I about fell out of my chair when I clicked on Gmail this morning.

I have to say some thank-yous: To Mr.Wonderful, for being the best partner I could ever wish for, to the kids for putting up with how difficult this has been (and it will not change for some time). To Ashlee, Abdi, and Phil for writing my letters of recommendation. To Vicky, for all of her support. Warren and Deb, for the support and all of the advice. The three of you have been our biggest cheerleaders. Thanks to all of our friends and family.

Off we go. On to Phase Two.

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Beautiful Fall Day

I would use the term, “Indian Summer,” but not knowing the origin of the word and being to lazy to Wikipedia it, I am assuming it is something no longer appropriate for use. It was October, it was eighty degrees. It was lovely, and I engineered some forced family fun at the playground, bribing the husband with the promise of General Tao’s tofu and a West Wing DVD afterward. Here are the exploits:

The park we were at. Amazing, isn't it?

It is taking every bit of restraint Rex-Goliath has to not play with those toys, which were not ours

Rex-Goliath learns to do the zip-line thingy

Daddy gives a demonstration

Mama and Baby Bee

Fun on the swings

Rex-Goliath on an adventure


Totally superfluous picture, but it turned out so good! Hey everybody, look at my cute kid!

Can we have Chinese food yet?

–Mrs. Wonderful

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Red Sticker Day

As a family, we have plenty of weird rituals and quirky little activities. My favorite is Election Day.

I have a deep personal belief that voting is important. It is our right and our duty. If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain. This is one of the few things that I want to teach the kids.

So we drag them to the little Lutheran church down the road to breathe in some of that musty old-church air and do their civic duty (read: stand in a reasonably quiet manner, watch their parents vote, and let their parents think that they are reflecting on the importance of this day even if they are really mentally counting the number of SweetTarts left in their Halloween candy bags). They get their little red stickers, Mr. Wonderful and I vote for the most liberal candidates we can find (and thirty-three unopposed judges) – win-win!

Will the kids do this with their kids? I hope. Most likely, it will go down something like this:

Child: Daddy, where are you going?

Rex-Goliath: To go vote.

Child (whining): Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? How long is that gonna take?

Rex-Goliath: Dude, stop whining. It could be way worse. My parents made me go with. And they took a family picture! You better count your blessings that Grandpa Dan and Grandma Leah aren’t your parents.

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How to be a parent; 11/1/2010 edition

Dinner tonight: kids are too busy saying “fuck” around the dinner table to eat; the baby throws his soup bowl on the floor, clean it up; a three year old spills his orange soda all over the table, clean it up; a full quart of soygurt falls out of the fridge and spills all over the floor, clean it up; pour oneself a strong vodka Coke Zero and keep plugging along.

This is how it’s done rookies.

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