A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


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Well, That’s the Pitts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week — or have all your entertainment alerts set to ‘Kardashian only’ (shame on you, if that’s the case) — you’ve heard the news that the Jolie-Pitt marriage has finished/ended.

And since they are such a globally aware couple now a pair of ‘normal’, heading-toward-a-nasty-divorce pair of adults, here’s how we say it’s over in any language —

  • Afwerking (Dutch – and so fun to say!)
  • Finir (French – for their neighbors in France, where they have a castle/estate)
  • fini (Haitian Creole – in honor of New Orleans, where they have a $3+ million dollar home)
  • បញ្ចប់ (Khmer – official language of Cambodia, for son Maddox’s fans)
  • hoàn thành (Vietnamese – in honor of son Pax’s fans)
  • Chereshe (Amharic, official language of Ethiopia, for daughter Zahara’s fans)
  • “50/50-ed” (nickname Californians have for how you divvy up the estate)
  • Overflate (Norwegian — which might actually be best for describing their egos)

There has been much speculation about this surprise Hollywood breakup… it’s all because of Angelina’s supposed OCD … it’s definitely Brad’s alleged marijuana use … it’s that their last movie By the Sea sucked something awful … it’s because TMZ needing to goose ratings.

Whatever it actually is, I’ll tell you what this break up/divorce isn’t. It isn’t…

  • shocking that two strong-willed, determined, and professionally-minded people find that they have grown apart
  • going to keep the Kardashians out of the news…unfortunately
  • nearly as newsworthy as Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, Access Hollywood, E!, or The Washington Post have made it out to be
  • brimming with the potential to be as entertaining to watch as the shit show called an election we already have going on in 2016
  • anything Taylor Swift hasn’t already written a thinly-veiled revenge song about
  • the excuse I can use to get out of working my concession stand duty
  • something special that any couple with kids hasn’t already gone through if they have divorced

So … maybe … being no more special than ordinary people who have to deal with this every day with far less fame, money, and access to cut-throat divorce attorneys is the the real reason this situation is the pits for the Jolie-Pitts.


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You Had One Job

In January of 1965, my parents were married.

Mom’s friend she met as a freshman at Georgetown Visitation College in 1960, Susan Carozza, was one of her bridesmaids, along with her sister Becky (my namesake), and her cousin Mary Anne.

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Left to right: Aunt Becky, Mom, Susan, and Aunt Mary Anne

My dad’s groomsmen consisted of his older brother Jerry and some young men he now describes as “the scrubs I ran around the county drinking with.” Charming.

One of those drinking buddies guys also happened to be my mom’s cousin Al. During the wedding, Al walked my grandmother down the aisle, as mom’s family entered the church.

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Susan led the bridesmaids as they entered the church.

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In the wedding party photo, it just so happened that Al stood behind Susan.

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It was at my parent’s wedding that Al and Sue met, and began their own love story. They married the year after my parents.

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2015. There was a nice party in January, and we celebrated as a family with a vacation that Summer.

This past weekend, my Uncle Al and Aunt Sue also celebrated 50 years of marriage. Their son decided to create a video, and had asked for family and friends to record video congrats, find pictures, etc., to be sent to him so he could put it together.

I taped a number of people offering anniversary congratulations wishes:

Like, my sister Susan.

Sue

My Aunt Mary Anne, who was one of the bridesmaids at my parent’s wedding, also offered well wishes.

Mary Anne

My mom’s brothers and their wives sent wishes, including my Uncle Frank and Aunt Lorrie, as well as my Uncle Bill and Aunt Barbara.

Frank and Lorrie

Bill and Barbara

And then? Well, there’s these two yahoos.Mom and dad

The couple who unintentionally played matchmakers for the Goughs over 50 years ago had one job.

One fucking job.

And I’m pretty sure they nailed it.

Happy Anniversary Uncle Al and Aunt Sue!

Al and Sue Wedding Day

Al and Sue Anniversary Party

Photo courtesy of Mike Oswald Photography.  www.mikeoswaldphotography.com

 


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My 20/20 Vision Sometimes Gets a Little Blurry

Today is Alex’s first day of high school. I was able to obtain the obligatory first day of school picture. Evidently, once you hit high school (or teenager status), smiling is no longer allowed  cool  something you do, just so you can annoy the snot out of your mother.

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This is my happy face, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents of 8th graders were jammed into a school gym with no air conditioning to celebrate the milestone of middle school graduation? Editor’s note: Sorry for the quality of the video – that’s what happens when you are a lame parent and don’t think to film the entire room, so you have to steal  swipe  use some fancy technology to copy as best as possible an uploaded version to Facebook by a parent who does have their shit together  was thinking it would be a good idea.

Was it only a few short months ago that my kid was already practicing his ‘we shant smile for anything when mom asks’ look, so that it took at least three tries to get a semi-usable photo of him next to the school mascot?

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This is as happy as my face gets, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the video compilation of pictures moms and dads submitted was played at the ceremony?

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents, grandparents, and guardians in attendance realized there was one problem?

Tshirt

You see, our 20/20 vision for these kids’ future was a bit blurry. Because tears of pride will do that to you.

Whole class

Walkersville High School Lions Class of 2020


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Why I’m a Total Heel

About a year and a half ago, I noticed a tweak in my heel/ankle area. I thought it was because I wasn’t watching where I was going as I tripped over a divot on the sidelines while taking photos as my son’s football game. Own your klutziness, I say.

Turns out something more sinister was going on. Something I would ignore for the next 19 months. Because as you get older, tweaks, twists, twinges (and, apparently, alliteration) take on greater meaning in terms of what we should pay attention to.

At the beginning of this year, the pain started to be a little somewhat downright regular and more noticeable. The pain was centered in my heel and achilles. I found myself gimping around like an old woman and at times I would stop walking entirely to “restart” my gait in an attempt to reduce the pain and limping.

And you thought only Justin Timberlake knew how to bring the sexy back.

It was clear that my tweak/twist/twinge was a bit more than I had bargained for. I reluctantly admitted that I was going to have to put out the co-pay to find out what the hell was going on.

On my visit to the podiatrist, I explained my symptoms, and the length of time I had been experiencing them. The podiatrist took an x-ray and while he consulted with another patient in a different exam room, his office manager brought my x-ray into the room and put it on the board.

To give you a baseline, this is what a normal x-ray of a heel should look like (ignore the toes — they look sorta jacked up, don’t they?):

NormalHeel

Photo (c) 2016 Beginner Triathlete. All Rights Reserved

So smooth. So rounded. So NOT ANYTHING LIKE MINE. Because this is my hot mess of an x-ray that went up on the board:

X-ray

Do you see it? That crescent moon jutting off the back of my heel with a sharp point? Yeah, that’s not supposed to be there:

Heel only

The doctor came back into the office and looked up at my x-ray. He said “so…yeah. Well, at least we know what’s been causing the pain and difficulty walking. The technical term is bone spurs. In terms of size…well I haven’t seen anything like this…in a very long time. And because you let it go on so long, your achilles is now chronically and severely inflamed. You must have a very high tolerance for pain.”

That’s right, bitches. I don’t do anything half-assed.

We discussed my options. There is the much more appealing non-invasive therapy: tennis shoes all the time, special inserts in my tennis shoes, a sleeping boot at night, calf stretches four times a day, and a strong anti-inflammatory medication.

Unfortunately, that won’t make bone spurs go away. It really only helps with the pain and possible damage I’ve done to my achilles.

So, then there’s the invasive and highly unappealing option of surgery to shave the bone spur off. Shave armpits, bikini line, and legs? Sure. Shave bones? Yikes!

While any surgery that would keep me off my feet and render me unable to work the concession stand at my kids’ football game is so completely appealing I almost immediately demanded that course of action, I picked the less invasion option. For now.

When I posted the photo of my x-ray to Facebook, a friend made a comment that puzzled me:

Foot on Facebook.jpg

Both? Both what? Both ends of the crescent moon?

Uh, no genius. Both bone spurs. Because while I had focused on the crescent moon on the back of my heel, I had totally ignored the fact that the doctor said “spurs”. And the spur on the bottom of my heel was the size of something that would have sunk the Titanic:

Under Heel

I head back to the podiatrist next week to see if the medicine and therapies have helped with damage to my achilles. Dealing with the bone spurs is a totally different issue and I’ll need to make a decision about surgery soon.

I know it would make me a total asshat if I decide to schedule surgery at a time that prevents me from working the concession stand.  But honestly, it would be so fucking awesome a real shame to miss out on the character-building concession stand work like making sno-cones, squirting liquid cheese on pretzels and hotdogs, and taking crumpled dollar bills from teens who have just dug the money out of their sweaty, smelly sneakers.

Oh, who am I kidding? I wouldn’t miss working the concession stand one bit.

Which makes me a total heel.


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Naked and Afraid … We’ll Never Have A/C Again

Seven years ago, my parents gifted us with a portion of some found money from an inheritance. We took our unexpected windfall and bought this:

Our island

That’s right – a poster of a tropical island. We hung it above the master bathroom tub and began dreaming about what it would be like to enjoy amazing alcoholic drinks on the beach in the picture.

Which, in my mind, would be something classy like this:

Classy drinking gif

But would actually turn out like this:

Cinderella gif

With the money left over after the poster purchase, we decided to buy something that would really up our street cred as cool parents. Our kids thought that meant a family vacation to Atlantis.

What we actually invested in was a new furnace and A/C unit. So, as you can image, the kids were totally on board:

Wait-say-what-GIF

Fast forward to Thursday of this past week — which also happened to be the hottest/most humid day of the year so far. I got this text from my husband:

Text Message

You would totally understand my WTF, if you knew our history with this particular unit (Carrier sucks). It’s gone up on us three times (Carrier sucks) in the 6 years we’ve had it (Carrier sucks). Twice it happened right after the technician came for the semi-annual check (Carrier sucks).

Per the beleaguered technician who showed up, the upgraded unit we had been convinced to purchase has “known issues”, but not well known enough for Carrier (sucks) to replace it. Upon his inspection, our “options” were:

  1. Stretch your hammies, because you are about to bend over and grab your ankles. Hard.
  2. Have the compressor replaced, but pay for the labor and cross your fingers nothing else goes wrong before the warranty totally expires. And if something else does go wrong, you’ll still have to pay for the labor. Even though Carrier (sucks) knows there is a problem with this unit.
  3. Buy a new unit, that will come with a new warranty. Don’t forget to be grateful that the new unit is being offered to you at a greatly reduced price, as a favor from Carrier (sucks) because they are aware of the problems with this unit.

"Rock, Hard Place" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

We opted for the new unit at the cost of a family vacation we won’t be taking this Summer for a consumer-screwing “generously reduced” price. To add insult to injury we had to wait until the following Tuesday — six miserably hot days — for the new unit to be installed.

But the experience wasn’t a total downer. Actually, we learned quite a bit. And I’m happy to share my new-found knowledge with you:

  1. Get naked! Or as close to naked as you are comfortable with. Because temperatures outside when there is no breeze will mean the main floor of your house will be about 89 degrees in the evening after a day in the mid-90s with high humidity.
  2. Sleep naked! Your upstairs bedroom is probably 10 degrees hotter than downstairs, and the beast that sleeps in between you and your partner is 75 pounds and wears a fur coat all year. Or, you could sleep naked and downstairs, where it is 10 degrees cooler. Unfortunately, there’s really only enough room for your kids on the couch.IMG_1557
  3. Save electricity! Turn off every light in the house to reduce heat production. Besides, you’ll need to save some money for the new “greatly reduced” A/C unit you are purchasing, and for the unexpected expenses of #9 you will now be incurring.
  4. No cooking! There’s no reason to add even more heat to the house by turning on the oven to make dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. Which is pretty much my motto, even when the A/C is working.
  5. Don’t obsess! It’s hot. It’s fucking hot. Checking the thermostat every 1/2 hour won’t change that. And it will just make you more angry every time you see that “system malfunction” message. System Malfunction
  6. Go swimming! If you are fortunate enough to have a pool in your backyard, your community, or one close by with pretty lax security so there’s little chance you’ll be arrested if you break in, go get wet. No pool access or don’t need another blemish on your rap sheet? Take a cold shower.
  7. Have empathy! Take special pity on the members of your family who can’t get any more naked than they are. We fed the dogs ice constantly.  And we tried not to complain too much when they were hogging the fans.
  8. Get creative! Remember that ice bucket your parents gave you as a Christmas gift last year? Fill it with a large bag of ice and place a fan behind it to blow cool air across the room. Stand in front of it and bitch about how it’s barely cooling the room off, let alone your naked body. Then notice the light of your neighbor’s fire pit and fantasize about how it’s probably cooler by their fire pit than it is standing naked in your family room in front of a big tub of ice. IMG_1553
  9. Spend Money! The first night of being A/C-less, we ran out and bought two big fans that cost us $60. IMG_1552We spent money on ice (see #7 and #8) twice a day. We ate dinner out. And for some reason (probably because we were delusional from the heat), we went to an air-conditioned sports mega-store and bought our youngest son a bike, along with a bike rack to haul around all four of our family bikes.
  10. Avoid sex! Because hot, grumpy, and miserable is the least sexy thing you can imagine. Which — in an ironic twist — is a waste of the whole naked thing, I’m afraid.

 


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Being First Lady – Not As Cool As I Thought It Would Be

Our boys — now 13 and 14 — have participated for more than 8 years in organized sports through our local community organization, GVAA. We tried soccer briefly, but found our niche in the following areas: baseball (for the oldest in Spring/Summer), lacrosse (for the past three years for our youngest in Spring), football (for both in the Fall),  and basketball (for both in the Winter).

And we have volunteered our time (and money) in numerous ways:

  • Taxi driver: toting our kids (and friends of our kids who may need a ride) to practices, workouts, tryouts, games, tournaments, urgent care, and end-of-season parties.
  • Baggage handler: shoving any combination (depending on the season/sport) of coolers, camera bags, lawn chairs, pop-up canopies, smelly football pads, extremely heavy catcher’s gear bags, and lacrosse sticks that don’t @#$%-ing fit within the limited length of an SUV, to haul over countless miles. Only to unpack it once you arrive at your destination and drag it all what seems like 26.2 miles to the field. And — finally — fruitlessly try to repack the vehicle at the end of the day, cussing out your morning self for being so much more spatially aware than your afternoon/evening self who wants to know how the hell all this crap fit in the car less than 12 hours ago. (It’s obviously that souvenir tournament tee shirt we bought that put us over the edge).
  • Scorekeeper: score keeping is the easy part. The real work is dealing with the parents who ask you to “rethink” that error you assigned to their little superstar when he kicked the baseball instead of catching in it his glove. Or making sure you give their kid credit for the assist on the three-pointer, when it was actually an errant throw that bounced off their kid’s head and into the hands of the player who shot the basketball. 17_times_rolling_your_eyes_was_totally_acceptable__16_
  • Groundskeeper: over the years, we have cut more grass and raked more dirt than is quantifiable. We have helped shop-vac rain off of baseball fields, spread sawdust on wet fields, and paint lines on football and baseball fields. And our HOA wonders why we don’t have any free time to so much as paint our mailbox post.
  • Photographer: photography has become a hobby, and I take photos at many of my kids’ games. I take pictures of all the players and share them via private team groups on Facebook and Shutterfly. This includes baseball, lacrosse, football, and basketball. It also involves a lot of standing, crouching, walking/running the length of the field to get a great shot or catch up with the action. I’ve also been told at least once by a grandparent “you need to move because you are in my way and I can’t see the game” (Really? Because, I was here first, granny.). And at least twice, I was chastised because I “obviously favor some kids over others, because you don’t take nearly enough photos of my kid.” (well, then, buy your own camera and take your own photos, freeloader).
  • Coach: in the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished category, this is probably the worst. No parent of a player is ever satisfied with: 1) the practice schedule, 2) the coach’s plans for skills that will be focused on during practices, 3) their kid’s playing time, 4) the fact that every game isn’t a home game, 5) weather-related delays, postponements, and reschedulings, 6) having to work the concession stand, 7) fundraisers being required in addition to the player registration fee, 8) the team mom’s blatant disregard for establishing a proper snack and drink schedule, 9) the end of season awards party menu, and 10) the fact that the grievance process has to start with the coach, who has already said he finds parental complaints to be totally unfounded and the result of “the petty BS of them trying to relive their childhood sports prowess through their kid(s), who would rather be watching Minecraft videos on YouTube than paying attention at practice.”
  • Food service worker: I consider any time spent working the concession stand, paying my penance here on earth. Because my delusional husband considers his groundskeeping (football)/scorekeeping (baseball and basketball)/coaching (basketball) work to be equal to food service work, I get stuck frying chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks, concocting walking tacos (don’t ask), smothering nacho chips and hot pretzels with cheese, waiting three minutes for a 6 year old to select what color of Gatorade they want when the line of customers is 20+ long, and — worst of all — making those damn sno-cones.Calm SnoCones
  • Philanthropist: I have supported the organization through player registration fees, in addition to all these other volunteer opportunities listed above. I have also purchased more pizza kits, cookie dough, coupon books, spirit wear, dance tickets, dine-around-town dinners, tournament tee shirts, food and drinks at the concession stand, drinkware, car decals, and team/individual photos than I can remember.

    New Pilot

    Now, we are road ready.

This year, after not much thought, my husband decided to run for President of the kids’ sports organization. For a small town of around 5,800 that pulls participants from 3 small elementary schools and one middle school, it seemed like a fabulous way to volunteer and give back to an entity that had provided so much fun and entertainment for our kids.

And he won! How fabulous that he’ll be able to help guide policy and programs to help future players and their parents through our tight-knit town’s offerings.

And me? I get to be First Lady. Here’s what wikipedia says about being the First Lady:

The position of the First Lady is unofficial and carries no official duties. The role of the First Lady has evolved over the centuries. The main role of the First Ladies, besides their private role as spouse, has been as host and organizer to the White House.[2] She organizes and attends official ceremonies and functions of state either along with, or in place of, the president.

The position is largely one of status, and First Ladies have held influence in a range of sectors, from fashion to public opinion on policy.

No official duties? Host and organizer of ceremonies and functions? Status? Influence in fashion? (we’re all going to get bling spirit wear, bitches!)

Lions Mom Bling

Lion sports mom – bling it!

And unlike that do-gooder Michelle Obama (who advocates for healthy families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education…BO-ring!), I can focus on my pet project, water conservation:

Tequila

Hot damn!

But, so far, being the First Lady is not really the life of glamour and prestige I imaged it to be. Why?

  • I don’t get a cool nick-name: Unlike FLOTUS, which sounds like a lush, tropical bloom with an aroma that transports you to an ethereal, peaceful place, my nick-name is FLGVAA (pronounced “flog-va”). Which sounds more like an S&M expert, with an unnatural leather/chain/pain fetish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess. You freaks.
  • I still have to keep my real (paying) job: According to wikipedia, since 2001, the president has earned a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. My husband’s new presidency comes with an annual salary of $0, with a big, fat nothing else for expenses, travel, and/or entertainment. Unless we pay for it. Lame, huh?
  • We don’t get a break on volunteering: Our time as taxi driver, baggage handler, scorekeeper, groundskeeper, photographer, coach, and food service worker does not get reduced in any way. In fact, it will be even more obvious if we don’t do these things. So that doesn’t leave much time for all the potential highfalutin official ceremonies and functions of state. Seems I’ll need to continue to carve out plenty of time for all the lowfalutin crap I’m already doing. Yay.
  • And some volunteer roles are expanded: Like philanthropy. It’s not enough for us to purchase something from every fundraiser that gets dreamed up, and just call it a day. Now we have to show up for every “dine-around-town” and stay for the duration of the event thanking all the players, families and fans who show up to make a purchase for a percent of the proceeds going to our organization. If the Prez gets…say…’stuck at work late’ or ‘delayed due to bad traffic’, the First Lady has to fill in, greeting and thanking everyone. And for the fundraising dances, the First Couple can’t arrive fashionably late as has been their custom (i.e., at the point where all our friends are good and sauced) and then leave early (“to get home and make sure the kids aren’t trying to kill each other”). No. We have to show up early and stay until last call the event is over and everyone has cleared out.

All of this only means one thing — the FLGVAA’s water conservation program starts now. Bottom’s up, my people.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Some Ground Rules for Summer Vacation

The beginning of the kids’ summer vacation happens to coincide with the week of my husband’s annual golfing vacation with his dad and brothers. How convenient is that for everyone…other than me?

So in order to give myself a little more convenience, I have decided to institute the following rules after only one day into the decidedly too-short break from someone else  watching my kids school.

Rule #1: When you are asked to clean the lint out of the dryer before the next load goes in, the lint goes one place. And that place is not on top of the dryer you were just asked to clean it out of.  By not putting lint in the trashcan, you have just moved the potential fire hazard from inside the dryer to on top of the dryer. Gross. And no.IMG_1425

Rule #2: When you are asked to help with the laundry (and once you have the whole lint thing figured out), “taking care of it” does not mean shoving the clean clothes into baskets and dropping them in the middle of the family room floor as you race back to the to play on your iPad. While I’m thrilled you can kick ass at whatever game you are playing or that you can delight in watching inappropriate videos/Vines, I would much rather have you take pride in kicking ass at folding laundry and putting it away. IMG_1427

Rule #3: We don’t need to pull out every cooler we own to figure out which one to use when we go to the pool. And once we do decide which cooler to use, we need to put away all the others before mom cracks her toe on one of them because she couldn’t see it, from carrying the last basket of clean clothes you ‘forgot about’ and left in the laundry room.IMG_1424

Rule #4: We don’t leave our size 12 canoes slides near the dogs’ dishes. Unless, of course, you like chasing Mocha and Jake in the backyard when they grab one and decide a game of keep away from the owner is the funnest damn thing ever. Which IT IS NOT.IMG_1426

Rule #5: This is a double whammy because backpacks taste like rawhide to dogs AND they cause quite the stumbling hazard for moms with that laundry basket you ‘forgot about’. Pick yours up from the middle of the floor and put it out-of-sight. Make sure it’s somewhere you won’t remember, so we can freak out the night before school starts in the fall, yelling at each other in a total panic about whose fault it is no one can remember where the #$%&-ing backpack was put for safe keeping just 9 weeks earlier.IMG_1428

Rule #6: All that shit that was in your backpack? It does not belong in the foyer. Or the floor of the foyer. Or my dining room table, the kitchen table, shoved in your closet, behind a dresser, or any other location you deem appropriate. It belongs in the trash. Because I don’t scrapbook, so just get rid of it.

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Rule #7: While I’m always excited about the prospect for new decorating ideas on the mantle in the family room, empty chocolate milk glasses ARE NOT DECORATION. They leave marks. They smell bad. They are tough to get clean once the milk and chocolate mixture has time to set. We can avoid all this by you putting it in the dishwasher the millisecond you are done drinking it. Or I can just stop buying chocolate syrup for milk altogether. Your choice.IMG_1431

Rule #8: iPads can be stored in a number of places. The recliner that the dog likes to jump on and sit in is not one of them.  You are tempting fate.

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Rule #8.5: If rule #8 is not adhered to and the dog does decide to jump in the recliner, breaking/ruining/scratching or otherwise rendering your iPad useless, it will not be replaced. And no, I will not download all those apps to my phone so you can use that instead.

I’m probably too busy cleaning lint off the top of the dryer to download apps, anyway.