Valentine's Day at first only served to remind me how I'm losing my mind. I bought small treats for the kids in advance (against my better judgment) and hid them in a place that I just knew I'd remember when the time came to find them.
It took six hours of on-and-off searching to find the heart-shaped chocolate.
Thankfully the mice didn't find it first. We've caught seven of them and the squatters in the garage must be getting smart, because they keep eating the cheese and peanut butter off the traps without setting them off. It's like they've built the Six Million Dollar Mouse.
I'm giving up failing killing mice for Lent.
When the kids got home from school, I let them tear into all their Valentines and gave them forty-five minutes to eat as much sugar as they could. Two of them later reported that they felt sick and stopped eating candy on their own accord. This is the only way we eat Valentines candy in the Griffith house, and then it goes in the trash. There are probably starving kids in China who would like to eat all this crap, but most of this stuff says made in China on the back anyway. So they can just make some more instead of me packaging it up and sending it back, like my children have at one time suggested I do with dinner.
Since I fed my children candy for supper, Mom of the Year didn't have to worry about preparing anything else so she sent them to bed all sticky, without any baths, and focused on the important stuff: what the big people were going to eat.
The thing is, when you're really hungry, that is the absolute worst time to try to plan a menu. It's like going into the grocery store when you've been fasting and you come home with eight pounds of ramen, two bags of Cheetos, and a pork belly. I couldn't decide between American food, Italian food, or Asian food. So I said to hell with it, let's make it all and we'll call it "tapas." Because that's how we [sushi] roll.
And we found out pretty quick that it's very difficult to eat ravioli with chopsticks. And we found out pretty not-so-quick that your house will stink of grease for days when you fry your own potato chips indoors, which is something that I seem to always not-so-quick find out several times a year.
And we ate it all and watched a scary movie about the real reason we've never gone back to the moon, which fits with our Valentine's tradition of eating lots and lots of food and me falling asleep to a horror movie.
And then no more ands at the beginnings of sentences.
The next morning, Eve had her Valentine's program at preschool. It was cute, even though she looked less than happy to be up there singing, but part of that may have been the crash and burn she felt when all that sugar wore off from the night before.
Then, when all the parents got to leave their children and go eat the free sample cookies at the grocery store, I got to stay the rest of the day because Eve was having abandonment issues and wouldn't detach herself from my leg.
She got more Valentine's candy from her friends at preschool. I let her eat it for lunch. I found out that green Fun Dip stains skin. Eve got a bath because we had places to go and people to see and we did not need to be green doing any of those things. I dried her off and told her to put something on as I started folding laundry.
I came downstairs to find Eve in her bathrobe, eating a box of chocolates and watching Downton Abbey. I want to be Eve when I grow up.
We picked up Natalie and Daniel from school and went straight to Duke for the last hour of the radiothon. Eve was so excited when we turned the corner and she saw the building. Dat's my hospital! Dat's my doctors! I wuv Duke Skywalker! I have never been that excited to visit a place where I get poked, prodded, and lose major organs. But that's a testament to how well she's been treated there by the people we are literally in debt to for the better part of the rest of our natural lives.
We met the three other ambassador families who were there for the last hour as well. There was a girl who has already been through fourteen surgeries in her short life to deal with a syndrome she was born with. There was a young man who had recently undergone brain surgery to bring his unmanageable epilepsy under control. There were the twins born almost four months early who miraculously survived yet faced meningitis and brain surgeries and other terrible things no parent should have to consider for their newborn. It was one of those times where I could say Hey, it's not cancer, but at the same time wouldn't swap with any of them. Everything sucks in its own special way.
But for a group of people with so much suckage, nobody seemed to suck. Everyone was quite pleasant and even smiled like the suckage could just go ahead and suck itself for all we care. There was lots of money being raised. Eve would hear an amount and whisper in my ear, Dat's a good number of money.
I mean, there were a lot of people answering a lot of ringing phones taking down a lot of pledges.
And there was the quintessential giant check. And another two sentences that started with and, for which I beg your forgiveness.
"Dat's a WOT of money," says Eve. No joke, Eve! They did that in two days. The most I've raised in two days is a handful of pennies and some popcorn kernels I found under the couch cushions. I can't think of a better place for one and a quarter-million dollars to go than Duke Children's, unless it was going to me so I could be independently wealthy and watch Downton Abbey in my bathrobe in the afternoon while eating a box of chocolate. Or better yet, Taco Bell! No, wait, I meant what I said about Duke being the rightful recipient of such funds. I can do that other stuff on my current income, it just doesn't sound as classy if you're not rich.