No Mercy: We Play Laser Tag

I work in a pretty fun office where we regularly have team outings to go do something fun and connect as a group.  I like that a lot about our office, and I particularly think that when you work in or around education, it’s pretty important to find ways to have fun and take time to recharge.

We put our latest team outing to a vote, and the vote was pretty unanimously Blazer Tag–a place that has a few video games and what not, but mostly is known for a three story laser tag arena.  We picked some time on a Friday afternoon, and made a reservation for 13.  But a 3 story arena is a large space, so they can easily fit more than 13 people in for a 20 minute game.  So, another group booked a game for the same time and date, and as we arrived, we went into the “briefing room” to meet our opponents.

They were about 20 elementary school aged children.

As we walked in and saw them, we all started exchanging silent glances as we processed a lot of feelings very quickly.  “Guys, we are a bunch of adults playing a game for children.”  “I feel very awkward and lame.”  “I feel very, very tall.”  “Uh, are we going to really try to take down a bunch of little kids?”

I have been accused more than once of being a bit too competitive, especially with small children.  Also, when we arrived a little late and in a bit of a hurry for our game time, I politely tried to avoid the little kids running around oblivious to other people around them, but after dodging about a dozen kids, one collided into me, and all I did was put out a hand to stop him and maybe give him a dirty look.  I get it.  He’s young and playing and having a good time, but a little more spatial awareness of the people and things surrounding him might be in order.

Meanwhile, as we are working through the realization that we were competing against little kids, we were watching a short video about how the laser tag game worked.  Afterwards, the people working the game asked if there were any questions.  One kid raised his hand, “What if I lay down in the game?”

After the slightest bit of hesitation, the guy in charge said, “That’s not allowed.”  I suspect he was used to getting some pretty weird questions working there, and he handled it like a pro.

Another girl raised her hand not so much to ask a question but to share that “The gems sometimes scare me.”

The employees fielded a few more questions, and quickly decided these questions weren’t the most pertinent.  They said they would take one more question, and a boy on the front row raised his hand to say, “How long has this place been here?  Like, 25 years?”

At that point the adult chaperones put the kibosh on Question time, though I would have been perfectly happy to sit and listen to at least 15 more minutes worth.  But hilarious questions were not the point.  It was time to start shooting one another.

The game itself was pretty fun, though running around in the dark for 20 minutes made me very aware that I had taken the week off from any and all physical activity.  A minute or two in, I ran into a clump of kids, and I would like to point out for the record that I did pause to contemplate my actions before I took aim at their lit up vests.  It felt a little strange, but they outnumbered us almost 2:1, and it is a game, so if we didn’t play them, we had very little to do.

Their reactions were wildly varied.  Some took it and returned fire.   Some were indignant or upset–not that we were adults picking on kids but at the entire concept of a game where people would try to win.  One girl ran around with a slightly older boy from a rival team, and every time I tried to tag the boy, she would tell me, “He’s okay.  He’s my brother.”  But she was on my team and her brother was not.  Maybe I should appreciate the sibling loyalty, but I was raised in a family where games were an exercise in every person for themselves, so I mostly thought she should cut ties for the next 20 minutes and help out Team Green instead of being a Team Blue apologist.

A handful of the kids were a little older, and those tended to be the ones that would shoot you and then gloat directly in your face.  One of them went by the code name “Anne Frank,” which further supports that he is the kind of young adult who revels in being inappropriate.  After the game, one of my coaches looked at the scoreboard where Anne Frank was in first place and said, “Anne Frank is a dick!”  Out of context, that sounds really bad, but in the moment we all nodded in agreement, myself included.

In the end, it was a pretty fun team outing. We gathered together as a team and compared scores.  The score sheets reveal who shot who and how many times.  One of my co-workers whose code name was “No Mercy” showed exactly that and got me repeatedly.  We swapped stories about our time in the arena and how it felt to go up against a bunch of little kids.  One of my team actually paired up with one of the little kids and helped guide her through the arena, which was totally sweet.

It wasn’t what I envisioned.  And despite what some of my friends might say, I didn’t feel great about beating people with the code names “Puppy Girl” and “Kitty.”  But it’s also a game, and an experience that we got to share as a group.  In that sense, it was a total success.

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Shirt Stories

Last year, Eric was going to come with me to a fancy library party.  I have a friend who is on the board of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, and every year he has a table and invites people to come sit and eat with him.  I am always there as a person who cannot afford a single thing at the silent auction they have, but who is at least a big fan of libraries.  Ben invited us to come, and I said we’d be there. But on the evening of the event, Eric went to put on his dress shirt.  The term is deliberately singular because he has one.  Honestly, that’s kind of rad to me.  It means that he doesn’t have a lot of nagging social obligations, and he is always able to be authentically who he is wherever he goes.  He does own a suit, and he wore it to prom with me twice, so he is not allergic to getting dressed up.

But something happened between the last time he took me to prom and the night of the library party because when he put his dress shirt on, we both realized it was comically, inappropriately huge.  We agreed that he couldn’t really wear that, and since he didn’t have anything else, he stayed home.  A bummer, but I went and hung out with my friends Ben and Charlotte and it was fine.

This year, Eric once again agreed to go with me to the library party, so we began an adventure in shirt buying.  First of all, I knew men’s shirts were different and tricky, but I was hoping that he might know his size.  Or at least know what size his last shirt was so we had a basis of comparison.  Also, in the 6 or so years that we’ve been dating, we’ve never once gone shopping for clothes together.  I like to shop alone a lot of times, and I always assumed (based on my dad’s tendency to hang out on benches waiting for us whenever mom and I went to the mall) that Eric  would not have the same enthusiasm for shopping as me, and that would make shopping together less fun, so I honestly usually wait for a time he’s working, shop online, or go straight from work.  I’m weird and a little secretive about it, but he doesn’t want to watch me try on 45 pairs of jeans.

I might also be a little hesitant to shop for clothes with him since shopping for groceries is still a fun, but unorthodox shopping experience where I buy a bunch of things I will use in cooking healthy meals, and then a family sized box of Lucky Charms will “accidentally” fall into our cart.  I love him, and that stuff makes me laugh, but it’s not the sort of experience I want to have when I’m just trying to pick out a few shirts I can wear to work or a new pair of shoes.

Six years into dating, we are on our first clothes shopping mission as a couple, and I have decided that we will go to no more than two stores.  I take him to the first store and start browsing a bit.  I hold a few things up, start to get a lay of the land, and Eric says he wants either a blue shirt or a black shirt.  I hold up a blue shirt.

It is not the right blue.  He rejects the shirt, and I am flipping through racks to find another one when he says, “They don’t have it.  Let’s go.”

I stare at him for a long time and eventually I laugh.  I hold up another shirt.  “No.  Let’s go.” This time it is completed with a head nod toward the door.  I hold up a black shirt with small color accents.

“It’s not here.  Let’s check out the next store.”  He is completely serious.

Now, I told this story to my male co-worker, and he nodded and said, “Yeah, I’ve done that.”

“But like, he stood in one spot, glanced over half a department store and didn’t try anything on.”

“Yep.”  He also confirmed that he never shops at more than two stores, so at least that part of my plan was spot on.

Meanwhile, back at the store, I put the shirts I picked up back and walk to the car, stopping every few feet to confirm that this is really happening and not just some weird joke.  I shake my head as we load up and drive to Nordstrom Rack.

Look, I have only picked out two stores, so now I’m worried that it’s Tuesday on the week of the event and the simple mission of “Buy a shirt” may take all week and turn up nothing.  I suggest no less than a dozen times that Eric  could also just get a nice sweater.  I know he has heard the suggestion, but he never responds to it.

At Nordstrom Rack, we are not only confronted with the same issue of whether or not they will have a very specific color, but also the shirts only come in those weird men’s sizes that I don’t understand and neither does Eric. Oh boy.  He holds up a tie and says, “This is almost the right blue.”

I hold up a shirt that is in the same area of the color wheel.  “Too much green,” he says.

“Maybe you should just look for a sweater,” I say. “We know how to size sweaters.”

“How about red?” he asks, holding up a shirt that is marked as “trim fit.”

“Red works!” I say, and I am secretly hopeful that trim fit will work for my tall, skinny boyfriend.

We pick up a belt and check out.  We didn’t try the shirt on because it’s one of those that is folded and pinned to a board, and I’m not sure if you are allowed to ask them to take those apart to try them on since, if you know your size, you probably don’t need to do a lot of try-ons.  And what adult man doesn’t know his shirt size, is what I assume the men at Nordstrom Rack with think if we ask about it.

We go home, and he immediately tries the shirt on.  It is too trim, which is silly because if a shirt is too “trim” for Eric, it’s is made for a skeleton.  Or a child.  It comes up in conversation that my boyfriend is about 10 inches taller than me, but only weighs about 10 pounds more than me, which is weird on a lot of levels.  But this shirt won’t work because while it is a little too tight, it is also a lot too short.  He raises his hands above his head–“For the book toss!” he says even though there is no such event since this is a gala, but whatever.  His point is made when he raises his arms, and the shirt rises well above the top of his pants and he asks if he would be expected to tuck the shirt in.  Um, yes.

We return the shirt the next day, and the cashier happens to be a guy, and he looks at Eric, looks at the shirt, and suggests a shirt that is the same neck size, but a longer set of other numbers that turn out to be sleeve length.  I ask one question, and he offers to set us up with a guy that can measure Eric so we know what size we’re looking for.  Awesome!

The guys who measure him are very nice, but once they take his measurements, they also say, “We might have 2 shirts in that size in the whole store.”  I am afraid to even ask that one of those shirts be black or we’re walking.  They do a search of inventory, and it turns out they have no shirts in that size.  We are told a few times that the shirt size is very rare, and I pat Eric on the back and say, “You’re like a unicorn!”

Later, I ask if it was okay that I called him a unicorn in front of other guys.  Since it made the guys laugh, but also struggle to find the correct response (“Yeah, um, that’s not the industry term, but…” is what he comes up with), I think Eric was okay with it.  Making people feel awkward is fun.

Finally, they suggest that he can shop online and there are lot of colors and patterns in his size, but the shirts all cost $150.   Or they can make him a custom shirt for $140 in only 5 weeks.  The guys are so helpful and so resourceful in their attempts to solve our clothing conundrum that I haven’t the heart to tell them that if we can’t have a shirt in 2 days, we no longer need the shirt.

As we walk to the car, I say, “You could always just get a nice sweater…”  To which Eric says…nothing.  He is not interested in the sweater suggestion, but I don’t know what else to do.  We return home for the second night with no shirt.

I call from work the next day and ask if he wants me to pick something up for him (and I don’t say it will be a sweater, but…it might be a sweater) or if he wants to take care of it.  He assures me he’ll figure something out and that night he comes home with a bag from Express and heads straight for the bedroom.

“Did you get a shirt?!?!?”


He emerges a few minutes later wearing a very nice dark blue shirt.  It fits well and the length is good.  “You don’t have to button it all the way up,” is my only note since without a tie, it looks weird.  He proceeds to unbutton the top four buttons and waggle his eyebrows at me.  “You’re not European!” I yell at him, “Do up all but the top two.”

And just like that, we have a shirt.  But WAIT!  He actually got TWO shirts.  And somehow they are both blue, and they are different shades of blue, but magically, they are both the RIGHT shade of blue!!!  How is this possible? It’s a library miracle!

Over dinner, I look at him and something occurs to me: “Was there a two for one special on shirts?”



He laughs.  “Yeah.”

“Well, what made you think to try Express? Did someone suggest that?”

“We went in the other day–” (We had gone out to try to buy him a wallet, and had done a lap through Express to see if they might have something) “and they had the right color, so I thought I’d try it.”

I let that sit with me for a while.  “Wait, you KNEW what shirt you wanted and you knew WHERE it was, and you didn’t say anything? Like, for example, I saw a shirt that I liked the other day.  Here’s where it was.  CAN WE TRY THAT?”

He looks at me perfectly calmly, “Well, you said you knew some good stores.”

You know that moment when you are fully aware of how much you love a person, and you are so glad that everything worked out and he can go with you to your library party–which you realize later he think is at your local branch library, which is hilarious, but not a place that we would ever have to get dressed up for.  And you can feel that love strongly and intensely, but you also think you might want to choke him a little bit?  That is the feeling I have in that moment.

Instead of attacking him, I end up laughing, “Well, next time, you can just tell me you want to try something in particular.” And I secretly plot to get him a nice sweater for Christmas.  And maybe some black pants just in case.

After all of that, you might be wondering how the library party went.  I don’t know.  Eric got a serious migraine headache and we stayed home.  I might have thought it was all a clever rouse except he already had a shirt (two, in fact), and when I finally told him I didn’t care if we had to miss the party, he said, “Ok, well then I think I’m going to go throw up.” And he did.  So, that was probably not an elaborate plan to get out of going to a dinner.  And it’s totally fine because the library party is pretty fun in that it is a dinner out at a fancy downtown hotel with friends, but, if I was desperate to go I could have gone on my own.  It’s not as important to me as being able to bring my sick boyfriend a Topo Chico and rub his back when he’s sick.  But we’re totally ready for next year!

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Slow and Steady

I’ve been putting off doing a VO2 max test since I was training for the Austin 10/20.  I was using a heart rate monitor and ballparked my fitness level, in order to follow a training plan.  But the days I was supposed to be doing a long, slow run, I was supposed to run SO SLOW.  I decided it couldn’t be right, so I decided to go in and do the test.

The main reason that I put off the test, was that I was really afraid I would find out I’m in pretty bad shape.  The two people I know who had done it were both really athletic and sporty.  One of them was actually quite surprised to find that she was in “excellent” condition but would probably never be an elite athlete, i.e. someone who competes in sports for a living.  I was secretly worried that I would find out I was in “fair” or “low” condition.  In reality, I am solidly “good” shape.  But I realized that I am never going to be fast.

I’ve been in training for almost two months for a half marathon in December.  And when I did the math on my average pace, I’m hoping to finish 13.1 miles in under 3 hours, which for me is a pretty ambitious goal.  But I would like to finish faster.  Not just because that would mean I get to the shower, lay in bed and nap all day portion of my recovery would happen sooner, but because I’d like to be running 10 minute miles, and that ain’t gonna happen.

I can run one 10 minute mile, but 2 or 3 or 13 in a row is out of the question.  I hit my max heart rate pretty quickly if it’s too hot or I go too far outside my regular pace, which is much closer to 12 minute miles.  I could get faster than that with the right training plan, but it wouldn’t be as significant as I’d like.

During my long training run last weekend, I started thinking about what that means, and I wondered if that kind of realization is what getting older is all about.  That maybe getting older means letting go of things you thing you want to do or should be able to do in the face of reality.  Which sounds pretty depressing in some ways, and in the moment that I began to realize that even though I can run 13 miles–which is a pretty big deal–I’ll never do it in the time frame I’d like, it was a bummer.  But it also means that I am able to let go of unrealistic expectations for myself.  It means that I can stop beating myself up that running a half marathon is disappointing because it took twice as long as I was hoping.  Instead, I can just focus on what I will hopefully accomplish on December 6.

The dream of being becomes more like the hope that I will someday look like a magazine cover model or be shorter or taller or Asian or all the other things that I thought would make me happier or prettier or better.  By letting all of that go, I can focus on being proud of the myself just as I am.

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Why I Am Not an Athlete

I’ve been listening to Mark McClusky’s book Faster, Higher, Stronger: How Sports Science is Creating a new Generation of Superathletes and What We Can Learn From Them.  The title is unwieldy, but it’s actually really interesting.  This is the first book that has made me care even a little bit about golf, which is remarkable enough in itself.  There’s so much that is interesting to me about how small changes make a huge impact.

But the book is also frustrating in ways that have nothing to do with the book itself.  McClusky makes it pretty clear early on that elite athletes are not like the rest of us.  They’re kind of freaks, and their weird genetic gifts are not something that normal people can achieve by just taking their vitamins and knowing which muscle groups to train.  Still, I feel like I’m not even really the “weekend warrior” type no matter how much I work out.

I like working out, but I also suck at it.  For every time I feel like I’m just a little bit of a badass for doing a 10 mile run, I do something dumb like sprain my ankle walking to the car. That’s a true story, and it is a huge source of frustration for me right now.  You know the saying “Time heals all wounds”?  Well, it turns out that a badly sprained ankle takes a lot of time.  It was getting better, and then I do something small like rotate my foot a tad too much and it is tweaked again.

I can work out.  I can get into better shape. I can lift weights.  But, I am still not graceful in the way that naturally gifted athletes are.  There are times–like now, when I wish that I could run–when it seems dumb that I exercise at all.  Sure, it lessens my stress levels and it’s good for me, but continuing to do something that I am always going to kind of suck at seems stupid.  Hell, I walked into a door twice in the last month.  Why am I not constantly sitting on cushions wrapped in bubble wrap?

But maybe that’s the problem with sitting on the sidelines.  When I’m able to work out, I can see improvement even if they are small in comparison to the woman who went from never having been on a rowing time to winning the gold medal in rowing, they are tangible.  The last bike ride I did, I rode for an hour, practiced a few new skills, and felt super proud of what I’d done.  When I can’t work out, I’m only left to brood about the fact that I injured myself walking to the car.

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Bike Month

The last Sunday in March, I ran in the Austin 1020, which is a 10 mile race.  I’ve never run 10 miles before, so that was a pretty big deal, but in the training and lead up to running 10 miles, I started to get a little sick of running.


After running 10 miles, Eric’s nephew wanted to know if we wanted to, “run around a little bit.” I’m not sure he understands that 10 miles is far. But it is. It is far.

I decided that after the 1020, I was going to take a month off of running and focus on riding my bike instead.  Maybe I’d join some group rides, maybe I’d do some spin classes, but mostly, I would just switch gears mentally and physically to make working out interesting again.

I decided to go all out, so I’ve also been reading books about bike riding.  I listened to the audiobook version of Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, The Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever, which was interesting, though I’ve had quite enough Lance Armstrong doping stories.  I’m most familiar with the Tour de France because it’s the one bike race that you can easily and fairly completely follow in the United States, and Lance Armstrong had a lot to do with that, but I’d be happy to read about other tour races like the Tour de España.  But because people now link Lance with doping, those stories seem most prevalent.

The real discovery for me has been the book Bike Snob, based on the blog of the same name.  The book is funny, but also deeply encouraging since I want to ride my bike more, but I am also nervous about doing so.  When I read him talking about how simple it is to just ride your bike–children do it all the time!–it forces me to examine some of my nervousness.  There is a group ride tonight, but I can’t possibly be ready to ride tonight!  I need to go visit my bike and spin the wheels and check the tires…but mostly I’m nervous because the last/first time I joined a group ride I wasn’t prepared.  At that time, I thought bike shorts were just a weird, poser-y fashion choice, so I embarked on a bike ride in 90 degree weather in pants.  I couldn’t keep up, and the people who hosted the ride were incredibly kind and someone always stayed with me, but when I complained that my butt hurt, they asked if it was my butt or my crotch.  My heat reddened face flushed so deep that I’m pretty sure I turned purple as I confessed it was my crotch.  Cotton pants and cotton underwear had been among the most terrible fashion choice I could have made.

Since then, and with Eric’s help, I’ve gotten much better on the bike, but I like the way BikeSnobnyc both gently confronts several things that I am actually afraid of–or over exaggerate since it sometimes feels like I can’t ride my bike because it takes too long to gear up and get ready– and writes in such an encouraging way that I’m like, “Seriously, children do this all the time.  Maybe I can ride my bike to the library that’s a mile away because it is fun.  Maybe I don’t even need to wear bike shorts if it’s just a 2 mile trip!”

So, that’s the goal.  I’m going to ride my bike and read about bike riding, and give my feel a little bit of a break, since they hurt pretty badly after running for 10 miles.  And in a month, maybe I’ll be ready to run again, but since May is National Bike Month, maybe I’ll take two months off.

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Inventory: The Detective Book Club

When I went to South Carolina for Christmas this year, Eric’s dad took me into a guest room and pointed to several volumes of thick, brown, hard cover books.  They were his mother’s (Eric’s grandmother’s) collection of Detective Book Club mysteries.  He offered to let me read them while I was visiting, and I checked out several titles listed on the spines before I came to a volume that contained The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde and Not Quite Dead Enough.  That was the the one!

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I started with The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde, sneaking in a few pages here or there.  The thing about going to South Carolina is that there is always something to do or people around to visit with.  I think of myself as an outgoing person, but when I am surrounded by people all the time, I realize that reading a few pages and slipping off into my own world is my way of relaxing and recharging.  I’m more of an introvert than I realize.

In fact, towards the end of our trip, I actually snuck off while Eric was playing with his niece and nephew to read in the living room.  Shortly afterwards, Eric’s dad also came in and picked up a magazine.  We both read quietly and it was really pleasant.  When I used to read a book at my grandmother’s house, my two younger cousins would make fun of me.  Eric even teased me, telling his niece that I wanted books for Christmas, which, fine, maybe does sound dull when you’re six and on the verge of getting a bunch of Legos to play with.  But it was nice to sit and read and share space with another human being who isn’t going to interrupt you because they are doing the same thing.

I didn’t quite finish the first of the three mysteries during our visit, so Eric’s dad let me take it back to Texas.  Y’all, I had three other books that I’d gotten for Christmas in my suitcase– What If by the author of XKCD, Yes, Please by Amy Poehler, and Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Autobiography–all of which I’d asked for and was deeply excited about, but you see, Perry Mason had this client, and as I said several times when people caught me reading, “I knew she was trouble the minute she showed up with a black eye wearing nothing but a nightgown and a fur coat.”

I’ve read a ton of mysteries in my time, but I haven’t dabbled much in the classics.  I’d only read two Agatha Christi books, and the one in this collection called Death Comes As The End was my favorite so far.  But, I’d also only experienced Perry Mason and Nero Wolf through television movies.  My mother was a fan of the Perry Mason movies, so I’d seen a few, but they were 1980s Perry Mason, where Raymond Burr had plenty of gray in his beard, and I was young enough that I couldn’t quite figure out if he and Della Street were dating or if she had just been his secretary for a very long time.  So reading this book, I learned that Perry Mason was not above clever tricks and slightly shady shenanigans, sometimes outsmarting the police, who were, as a result, pretty skeptical of him.  He’s basically a slightly more ethical version of Saul Goodman, and he and Della were definitely smooching it up in his car.  Reading that book felt a little bit like reading a juicy behind the scenes tell all because it turns out that stout, bearded old man I used to watch on TV with my mom was actually kind of a scoundrel.  How exciting!

Nero Wolfe was more problematic.  There was a femme fatale who was both beautiful and cunning, and Nero was pretty open about his distaste for women in the workforce.  Archie Goodwin was all for it, but mostly because I believe the lady had some shapely gams or whatever.  These books were published in the 1940s.  Sometimes it shows!


The logo of the Detective Book Club

Still, for all that I have fully embraced ebooks and audiobooks, sometimes there’s just something about the feel of a book. It’s solid hardback cover with all it’s texture and the weight of it in your hands as you move through all 700 pages.  The softness of the pages, and the logo of the Detective Book Club, that reminds you that this was made for people who also loved a good mystery.  I took it home and finished the Perry Mason mystery on the plane and read the other two in quick succession.

I always placed the book on a pillow so it could lie flat and that would hopefully keep the spine from getting too damaged or worn, but the back edge of the spine still came loose.  Maybe it was coming unstitched?  I’m not sure, but it when it got damaged, there was a loose thread that seemed connected to the problem.  I was going to ship it back when I was finished, but I worried that it would get even more damaged in the mail.  Does anyone know how to repair old book covers?  If so, leave me suggestions in the comments.


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I…am a mess.

Listen, I’m not proud of that.  In fact, when Eric started calling me “Mess” as a cute little nickname, I protested because that is not something I want to be.  I want to transcend my tendencies to be a hapless walking catastrophe.

But yesterday, I went into the pantry to grab the peanut butter and graham crackers which has been my morning breakfast for a while now, and a box of spaghetti fell to the floor.  I picked it up and proceeded to spill almost the entire box onto the floor.  So, now I was going to have to play the worst game of Pick Up Stix ever, and I could only bring myself to do some of it because I was hungry and hadn’t even had coffee yet.

So, I grabbed for the box of graham crackers, and they, too, fell to the floor.  Only instead of spilling, it fell from a great height onto the largest side of the box, resulting in breaking every single remaining graham cracker sheet into a bunch of random pieces.

I soldiered on, picking up three sizable pieces and slathering them in peanut butter, which I dunked into the coffee.  Only, due to the compromised integrity of the cookies from their fall, it became unstable and the entire thing, except for the one dry corner I was holding, kind of melted and fell into my coffee.  I tried to fish it out with another piece of graham cracker, and then, I lost that too.  It sank into the coffee which was now filling up with graham cracker peanut butter sludge.  I ate the last piece of breakfast dry, grabbed a spoon and dredged my mug of coffee, and drank what I could before giving up and switching to a new mug.

You guys, I can no longer deny it.  I am a mess.

EDITED TO ADD: I reached in to grab some potatoes for dinner, and somehow a box of protein bars leaped off the shelf to attack me.  So, the issue is clearly that pantry.  Not me.  I’m perfect!

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