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Blog Entries posted by Capulet

  1. Capulet
    *Please be advised that this entry deals with teenage/child death, accidents, and fear.  If any of these trigger you, please skip it or save it for a time when you are in a better frame of mind.*
    Today, my seventeen-year-old son confided in me that two of his friends were killed in a car accident as recently as a day or two ago, in our old hometown in New York.
    He wasn’t emotional or a blubbering mess about it, but he did pull up the Instagram account of the sister of one of the crash victims.  There was a photo of the now deceased 19-year-old and a photo of the 17-year-old boy who died alongside him.  Then, he showed me a news article covering the crash and apparently, the 19-year-old had been driving, and somehow lost control of the car and hit a parked car and a utility pole.  The driver had been speeding and both boys died instantly.  
    My son hasn’t seen these friends in months, but heard through someone he is in frequent contact with about the accident/deaths. He is sad, I can tell, but I don’t think the severity and finality of the situation has fully hit him.  I think this is typical of boys his age, though.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he shed a few tears when alone, privately and where no one would be able to see him.  For now, I offered him my condolences and asked if he would like to attend services for his friends.  He shrugged.  It’s all I can do, really, aside from giving him the space he needs in order to grieve in the way he sees fit.
    Now that I’m home and we’ve finished dinner, I can’t stop thinking about this and about the fact we’re all on borrowed time.  These kids had their whole entire lives in front of them.  They were on their way to college, they had plans for themselves.  They had hopes and dreams.   They had families and friends who loved them.  And now, in a single instance, a snap of the fingers, they’re gone.  Just like that.
    Before this, I’ve been asked many, many times what I’m afraid of.  And ya know, I really, really, REALLY had to dig deep within.  I know I’ve said this before but I have seen a WHOLE lot of ugly in my lifetime.  I have met horrible people, I’ve read about things in the news that absolutely disgust me, I’ve experienced things that others would have categorized as scary but has instead left me unfeeling.  
    I am not afraid of spiders or other insects or rodents.  You will not see me screaming like a girl (even though when I DO scream, I am sure I sound more feminine than I do masculine…) whenever something crawls, slithers, scurries across the floor.  I’m the one called upon to rid the house of unwelcome creepy crawlies whenever the cats haven’t done their jobs or just can’t be bothered by the pests.
    I am not afraid of horror films, of clowns (the creepy ones), of those things that go bump in the night.  I’m not afraid of the things that jump out of the shadows and yell, “BOO!”  I can certainly be startled, and it’s happened from time to time, mostly because of my hearing impairment preventing me from detecting another person who may or may not be trying to get my attention. 
    I am, however, TERRIFIED of losing one of my children.  There’s just nothing else that compares to the fear of the possibility of that happening.  
    So, my son wanted to drive home today.  After telling me about the death of two of his friends, in a CAR ACCIDENT.  
    I have let him drive before, and he’s not a bad driver.  He, for the most part, drives the speed limit.  That annoys the people behind him, but I’ve always told him not to worry about them, his safety was more important than someone else’s impatience.  
    My first thought when he asked to drive us home?  No.  No, absolutely not.  I don’t want him driving.  I don’t want him to be tempted to speed, I don’t want him to test his limits and put himself or anyone else in danger.  I don’t want him to hop into a car with a friend who just got his license and is anxious to show off driving skills they may or may not have.  I’m SO flipping scared of this, of losing him or his sister, of getting that phone call, of my not being able to go on if anything were to ever happen to one of my children.  Because the fear of this is so great, NOTHING else makes me bat an eye.  Everything else is small potatoes compared to this insurmountable terror.
    I let him drive, though.  Because as uneasy as I feel about his preparing himself for life, I cannot hold him back nor can I put him in a big, huge safety bubble.  Same with my daughter, although I think I have a few years before I have to repeat this meltdown when SHE begins driving.
    I’m not even sure why I’m even writing about this.  Usually I get to writing when there is something pressing to ponder and I want to see if writing about it makes it less of a mystery.  This, though?  It’s not a question, nor a blog entry that requires feedback. I guess I just want to say I’m very, very afraid.  And to feel fear reminds me that I am human and the unknown applies to me, too.
    The unknown also scares me.  That’s a perfect description of it and sums it all up.
    I suppose in closing, I will to ask all of you to say a prayer for these two families in New York City that are one hundred percent devastated right now.
    - Capulet
  2. Capulet
    Oh, let me tell you…if my mind were ever called upon as a witness, a mistrial would be declared. 
    There are more holes in there than in a block of Swiss cheese!
    Furthermore, if my mind took the form of a live being, I’d describe it as most resembling a hyperactive dog or cat that spends ninety-five percent of its time running in rapid circles, not necessarily in the same pattern.  Just nonstop, frantic running.   This way?  No, that way!  Nah, wait….THAT way!  Up!  Down?  Maybe to the left? No, I was right the first time…it’s that way!  And the cycle repeats.  Twenty four hours a day, more if it were even a possibility.  
    It’s gotten to the point where if I don’t dose myself with NyQuil thirty minutes before I intend to shut down for the day, I end up tossing and turning.  All.  Night.  Long.
    Last night was a such night.  I don’t think I’ve slept at all.
    I tried thinking about kittens - anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for kittens.  The purring is so soothing, so tranquil.  It relaxes me to have a cat nestled on my chest while watching television.  I’ve spent the last nearly twenty years owning a single cat or multiples.  I currently have five of these feline wonders.  J has already told me that if I bring home another cat, I’m going to find myself single.  
    So, I shifted thoughts to the kids.  Their goings-on.  How time has gone by so quickly and how my son is currently putting in college applications and (gasp!) has started driving.  I’m terrified of that, for the safety of my son, the safety of the townspeople and the safety of any wrong place, wrong time wildlife critters that he’s likely to mow down at least once in his lifetime as a driver.  I worry about his choices that I know are going to impact him as he embarks upon his upcoming college days.  I am hopeful, although I still worry, that he’ll make smart decisions.
    I think about my daughter, my beautiful baby, who is no longer a baby. I am terrified of her transition into a teenager, then into adulthood.   She’s quite the social butterfly, always on the phone or face-timing with her friends from school.  She’s always surrounded by people, whereas I am the complete opposite.  I have a feeling she didn’t get this trait from M, either.  Either way, it scares me to know that she, too, is going to experience, be it firsthand or secondhand, the same things that I know all too much about.  Her innocence will dissipate, she will no longer see things through the rose-colored glasses that childhood enables us to.
    You see, I’ve experienced a whole lot of ugly in today’s world.  Each time I see or experience something that doesn’t sit right, it pokes a brand new hole in the already tattered mass that resides inside my head.  I have too many questions.  I want to tackle that running cat or dog, sit them down at the table and shine a huge spotlight onto them.  Then, I want to play ‘bad cop’ and interrogate them in a manner that produces results.
    I want answers.  I think that’s what it boils down to.  I want gaps filled.  I have too many questions for my own sanity, some that I already know the answers to, but need validated.  Each question is a separate running animal and at this rate, I’m going to have an overcrowded zoo in the recesses of my mind that should otherwise be reserved for peaceful, tranquil, sleep-welcoming thoughts.
    Let’s be clear on one thing, though.  I am NOT in crisis right now.  Over the years, I have methodically trained myself to function on three or four hours of sleep per night.  Usually, this leads to a ‘screw it all, I’m crashing tonight’ and I can sleep for upwards of eight hours (without the help of NyQuil) as I recharge.  This is not constantly my current frame of mind, although there ARE sporadic moments where I need to sit and regroup, think about why I’ve got these questions and what to do with them.  This post is not a cry for help, but rather an admission that I struggle with these questions on a nightly basis and it is seriously affecting my ability to turn it all off at night, and ultimately, to fall asleep.  I wonder if any of you are the same?  Do you lie there at night, wide awake, and because you’re awake, you can’t help but succumb to your thoughts and underlying questions?  One leads to another.  Then it leads to a full on debate.  I envision myself with the megaphone in these cases.  Screaming as loud as I can, “SHUT UP!”  Sometimes it helps and I sleep.  Sometimes it doesn’t and I write.
    Hence today's entry being so close to last night's.
    I think eventually, I’m going to have to track down the Ambien lady that I made fun of in my first blog entry.  I’m pretty sure that unmedicated, I wake up with what looks like a mop on my head coupled with a pair of big-ass black contractor bags underneath my eyes.  But hey, if the Ambien she so eloquently represents is a preview of how I COULD be waking up, then I’m all for it!  Oh, gosh, would I love that.  I’m sure J would appreciate that, too, as no one wants to be scared in the morning.  
    Thinking tonight is going to be the night that I recharge.  Fingers crossed.
    - Capulet
  3. Capulet
    To be or not to be…
    No, wait…that isn’t right.  Let me get out of Shakespeare mode.
    To blog or not to blog?
    Better.  Moving along.
    I guess you can say I’m not a newbie to blogging.  I had one a million years ago, when my life was one thousand percent different.  I was married to the biggest baby in the world, also known as my ex-husband, will refer him to just ‘M.’  Most of my blogs back then were about my life raising four children and tending to the needs of aforementioned big baby and posts were nothing short of chaotic.  Usually, I shared my daily experiences with the kids (I raised four children…two that I had with M and two that were a result of M’s first failed marriage.)  Besides his inability to keep a wife (third time’s the charm, right?) M was also completely clueless as to what the purpose of a BLOG was.  
    If you ask me, you’re supposed to be honest with yourself more than you are to the folks who care enough to read about your insane everyday moments.  You’re supposed to share things, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to be…because at the end of the day, the feedback is what makes writing about it all worthwhile, right?  And you’re not supposed to be afraid of what other people may think of what uncensored thoughts spill onto the computer screen…because, really…who gives a shit?  They’re your thoughts.  Your life.  Your ponderings.  According to M, to share things of a personal nature with people outside of our home, our family, was the equivalent of putting it across the sky in neon letters.  
    And so my previous blog was strictly about being a mother/stepmother to these psychotic kids and on occasion whenever I referred to M, I referred to him as my ‘darling hubby,’ (yes, you may gag) on the off chance he got interested in reading my blog after I’d gone to bed.  I personally think he was afraid that he would appear to be the problematic one in our relationship, so I had to make sure that his reputation as the outstanding family man was well protected.  I had to suppress and sugar-coat a lot, for fear that he’d disapprove.  
    During my divorce nearly ten years ago, I’m sorry to report that I stopped blogging.  I didn’t only jump ship, I did a running dive and because of all these years of inactivity, my precious blog was purged.  Either that, or I just can’t seem to access it anymore.  I no longer have the password-recovery email, I don’t remember the login, I don’t even remember the URL to where it was.  I’ve googled the name of the blog in hopes of it popping up on search engines.  Nada.  
    I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore.  In hindsight, while my previous blog did contain a lot of precious stories of the little angels I raised, (that’s where the ‘grain of salt’ comes in) a lot of it was written with the fear of M not liking or approving of what I had to say.  God forbid I talked too much about my son’s little psychotic episode when the seam on his socks didn’t line up properly with his toes, or that time M had a little hissy fit when a pack of his cigarettes went missing and he impersonated Adolf Hitler and made the kids search all over the house for them…only to find them in his car hours later.  Totally blog-worthy stuff, but I didn’t share that.  I can, now, though!  I’m free!
    My life with M is over.  Our divorce was more emotional than our marriage had been.  He took his older two children, now aged 23 and 21.  We share custody of our 17 and 11 year old.  He’s now married to Wife #3 who brought a 14-year-old son with her from a previous marriage, and together, she and M have a 5-year-old.  While a part of me is angry that my one marriage didn’t work out, I can’t help but giggle whenever his new wife shows up to pick up the kids and instead of heading straight back out, will sit and vent about the aggravation M causes her.  Even my children have stories for me when it’s my time with them, and I can’t help but be relieved that he is no longer my problem.
    In fact, some of you know that I am in a relationship with a woman, now.  We are engaged to be married.  No date has been set, yet.
    Say, what?
    It was jokingly said that I’ve gone to the Dark Side.  I don’t know if that is because I can do a wicked imitation of Darth Vader when I breathe…it’s either severe allergies or simply the fact that I can’t hear myself breathe.   It could be that, or it’s an actual term used to refer to a female who no longer is attracted to men and goes to the other team.  But stick with me, there’s always a method to my madness and in time, all will be revealed.  
    I’ll refer to my fiancee as ‘J.’  She’s just amazing.  Literally the light at the end of my tunnel.  We met shortly before I was officially divorced but after M and I had decided to split.  I wasn’t looking for a relationship, nor was she.  We had been talking for a few months before it hit me.  
    For example…you know those Ambien commercials?  Where the too-attractive-for-TV lady sits up in bed, stretches her arms over her head, hair looking like she had just come out of the damn salon, big perfect smile on her face?  I mean, really?  Who the hell wakes up like that?  But, anyway, if I could bottle that phrase/feeling, that’s probably what it would look like.  It was a moment of clarity.  I knew we had something very special.  A connection far deeper than I’d ever shared with M or anyone else.  It felt right, it felt like the TRUTH, in a world where I was so accustomed to lying to myself and putting on a front to hide the unhappiness and loneliness that I'd felt being with M.
    Fights with M were almost ALWAYS won by M.  I could go on and on about how much of a pain in the ass he is/was.  But before I say too much more about my ex-husband, I just want to put out there that 1) NO, he never laid a hand on me in violence.  I will give him that much.  He shoved me once, and once only, and that was because in a heated moment during one of our fights, I slapped him in the face.  Don’t ask what came over me.  I can’t even say for sure.  LOL.  And, 2) He was not a good husband to me but he is a very good and very involved father to our children.  Yes, he is harsh and oftentimes the kids express how much they disagree with his perspective on things, but he provides.  They are never without.  Unfortunately, I can’t deny him that, either.   
    Mostly because of reason #2, I will always love and respect him on some level, even if it’s the smallest level possible.  We get along MUCH better now that I don’t have to share a bed or a household with him.  He’s almost tolerable to be around and I do feel that it’s in our children’s best interest that he and I remain a unified front and co-parent despite the differences we have had in the past.  So, I’ll try not to complain too much about him in this blog - no promises, though. 
    My fights with J…well, here’s the gist of it.  She’ll ask me what I want for dinner.  I’ll ask her what SHE wants.
    “I asked YOU first.”
    “I’m not the picky one.” (That would be me.  I will eat absolutely anything that isn’t disgusting or slimy.  She’s got some issues with food textures and such so only likes certain things.)
    So…after about ten minutes of that back and forth, we’ll decide that neither one of us wants to cook.  Fast forward to twenty minutes later.  We’re both in the car.  Still no location in mind.
    “Okay, so where are we going?”  (J)
    “Where do you want to go?”  (I never said I wasn’t a pain in the ass.  If you ask her, she’ll completely attest to that.)
    We’ll sit there for the next half hour batting names of local eateries back and forth.  Sometimes it ends with J pulling over and stopping the car before we end up crossing state lines without having decided on dinner.
    “Listen here, Capulet…” (of course, she doesn’t call me Capulet, but was I effective in describing how annoyed she is at this point?)
    “All right, all right.  Let’s go to Wendy’s,” I’ll say.
    Yes, really.  After all that, we end up at Wendy’s.  This is, believe it or not, a common argument that we have at least four to five times a week at dinnertime.  And while we’re stuffing our faces with oversalted french fries and nuggets that are only perfect half the time, we’ll laugh at ourselves and just how silly we are on a regular basis.  
    And that’s okay.  
    I think it’s healthy to be able to laugh at your soulmate, your better half, the love of your life.  This is the one you’re going to be safe saying exactly what you feel, the one you’re not afraid the truth will offend, the one who will laugh with you.  It’s all done out of love, a love that I never knew I was capable of until I met this woman.  I mean, sure, there are times I roll my eyes.  Like earlier tonight when we were watching The Walking Dead.  I had just gotten cozy in my recliner with my blanket draped over myself, dessert in hand, when she noticed a spider crawling on the ceiling.
    “Kill it.”  (J)
    “Why don’t you kill it?  You’re taller.”  (me)
    She leaves the living room for a moment.  Comes back with the broom and a lone sneaker.  Stands over by the recliner looking all cute and holds out the broom and sneaker.  Says nothing.  Just the 'here ya go' look on her face.  Yeah, she was serious.
    “How do you expect me to get that damn spider?  It’s on the ceiling.”  I didn’t really want to get up.  I was comfortable, damn it.  In response to this, she jiggles the hand with the broom.  There’s a pause.  Then the hand with the sneaker jiggles.  I sigh and get up.  “All right, fine.  Give it here.”
    I whap the spider on the ceiling.  It falls to the floor, legs up and curled.  I smoosh it with the broom.  Mission accomplished.  Didn’t even need the sneaker.  J is pleased that there is no longer an eight-legged guest in our living room.  Go, me!!
    Gosh, I love this woman.  With all of my heart.  She changed me.  She made me a better person.  She taught me what relationships were SUPPOSED to be about and I am a lucky, lucky woman.  I owe her my sanity.  And I thank her every single day, even if not verbally, for putting up with me when I slack off on the housework, or I forget to transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer, or I eat too much Mexican food and my ass isn't pleasant to be around.  Either way, this one is a keeper!
    Here’s another important tidbit I wanted to add before I close out this blog entry.  Back when I had my old blog, she was a follower/reader.  So if you’ve enjoyed this entry, you may thank my fiancee, J, for encouraging me to start a new one.   I'll always be honest here, I'll not be afraid to share my challenging times as well as the good/funny/sad, etc.  I'll always tell the truth, no matter what.  I'll always be sweet and respectful (and here comes the chocolate!) to everyone, unless of course, I'm mad at you.  Either way...welcome to my blog, I hope you'll stick around and enjoy the randomness that is my mind.  Comments are welcome.  In exchange for the laughs I'm sure to provide on many occasions, I accept payment in Dunkin Donuts gift cards.  
    (Yes, I'm kidding about that last part.  Everything else, though, I'm quite serious about.)  
    - Capulet
  4. Capulet
    Hi, everyone!
    I know I promised this update a few days sooner, but I've had some unexpected things pop up that I'm not quite ready to share with the world, yet.  Please know though, that I am physically and mentally okay and this is simply something that happened that I feel I need to spend some time processing privately before it becomes blog-fodder at a later time when I've got it all figured out.  I also need to scream at Will Ferrell for a little while - because now even HE is asking me if I'm sure I'm handling it the way I should be.  All I can say on that is, I hope so.  
    But anyhow.  In my last blog, I promised to let you know whether I met my short-term weight-loss goal.  I did.  So, yay!  Yes, I'm very happy about this - I'm now setting another goal, and when that one is met, I'll keep setting goals until I can say I'm sincerely comfortable in my own body again.  It's been a very long time since that was the case and I feel that for the first time in ages, I've got control over my weight and my diet - which was one of my biggest health concerns.
    And now for the apology and the rest...
    It was recently brought to my attention that a post of mine in the forums was edited (just a sentence) because providing numbers/amounts of weight lost is against the forum guidelines.  (I'd only confirmed this AFTER the fact, by visiting the specific forum and saw them for myself.  See, when I browse the forums index page, I usually peruse the most recently added topics on the right hand column - I don't access these topics through the forum categories themselves.  And so I was not aware of this specific guideline when I responded to a post about dieting!)  Anyhow - I got a (friendly) note from a moderator letting me know that the post was edited and let me be clear - I am NOT upset about this nor am I upset with the moderator, who is a fantastic person and has always been kind to me.  I was very happy to see that she was doing her job keeping AS a safe place to be and I thanked her for doing whatever she felt was necessary.  It does my heart a LOT of good knowing that there are people out there devoted to keeping this a safe place for us all to visit and to turn to when we need.  So, to my friends who are part of the administration at AS - thank you for everything you do!!!  
    I'm generally not a rule-breaker and just KNOWING I'd broken one, although not intentionally, was what bothered me the most.  And then I thought about it in-depth some more later on in the evening, even though my exchange with the moderator ended on a pleasant note...
    It hit me that I've been posting a great deal about weight loss in my blogs for a long time, now.  My reason?  Simply put, you're supposed to write about things you think about, your life's challenges, everything and nothing in a blog.  Well, weight is a hurdle for me, always has been.  And my way of analyzing and dealing with this and other such obstacles in my life is to write about them and if I could, share them with anyone who would want to read.  But I realize now that in doing so, I wasn't thinking about others, about YOU guys - weight is a hurdle for more people than I realize, whether they're trying to gain it or lose it, maintain it, etc.  And it never occurred to me to, while I was ranting about my own personal struggle to adopt healthier eating habits, to stop and think about how many others are eating disordered as a result of traumatic life experience and how discussing these things may not be as well received as I originally felt it would be.
    And for this, I am deeply sorry.  While my intention was merely to share a personal triumph, I simply was not thinking ahead when I wrote these blog entries and may have come across as selfish.  
    Furthermore, I've decided that I'm no longer going to discuss my diet ambitions in my blog or in a post.  I am probably making a bigger deal out of it than it truly is, but this is a decision that I feel comfortable with making at the moment.  I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of other things to ramble about.   If you're among the few that actually likes these (sometimes boring) diet updates, I invite you to inquire about my progress through private messages, where I feel I'll be able to speak more freely and without fear of offending because the topic is asked for and not imposed upon. 
    It's been a LONG day and I'm about to turn in...just wanted to get this sent out before I did.  
    Thanks for listening and for all the support!  Have a safe holiday weekend!
    - Capulet
  5. Capulet
    For the last two or three years, I've gotten the holiday cards with a blank framed slot in the front for the 4x6 photo insert to go into; that's usually the time of year when I have to literally threaten the removal of any and all electronic devices from my kids' possessions until they agree to take a photograph that I can have 20+ copies made of.  
    They'll protest, still...even if I threaten to change the wi-fi password until they comply.  And I'd probably change it to something SO silly, something like, "cheese," JUST to annoy them even more once photos had been successfully obtained and I've freed them.  Once the holiday decorations have been put out, (and today, we've finally finished decorating the house, inside and outside!) I'll whip out the camera and tell them to get in front of the tree, it's 'holiday card picture time.'  
    "But Mahhhhh.....we're getting too old for this..."  The moaning and groaning starts.  From both of them, even though they SHOULD know better, by now.  It happens EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.  The son will attempt to retreat into his room after I'll have warned him earlier in the day that a photo shoot was planned for the evening.  Daughter will say she's having a bad hair day.  Or she'll say she has a rash on her teeth.  Anything but pictures!  
    "No, you're not too old!"  I'm doing all sorts of head acrobatics as I'm nudging the both of them into the direction I want them.  "Move to the left.  No, not you...your sister.  Now, bring your heads closer together.  Now, smile....(snap...snap...) Would you STOP giving me that look?"
    Let me add that the daughter thinks that smirking is smiling.  To a sixth grader, maybe.  But for a Christmas picture, it's just not appropriate.  We're sending these cards to people we actually like.  
    "Listen," I finally said to both of them after many failed attempts at good photos, due to closed eyes, smirks, deadpan looks..."If you two don't want to take a picture, then fine...just know that I am not opposed to finding the nearest JC Penney's portrait studio.  I'm still a member of the portrait club and being a member, I get free sittings.  If it means I have to drive forty miles away to get a free sitting, you bet your asses, I will do that.  And you'll have to be dressed in your Sunday best clothing, your hair will have to actually be combed, you'll (I point to the son) have to shave that mess you call a the beginnings of a beard, find a button-down shirt and tie...and YOU (I point to daughter) will have to actually detangle your mop of hair, which requires a heavy brushing by yours, truly (I point to me now, with a big smile on my face).  Then of course, you'll have to get a nice pair of pantyhose...the nicer the pair of tights, the more itchy it is...or maybe you can wear the ugly Christmas sweater you got last year from Aunt So-and-so in Kissimmee. (We don't have one of those, but you get the idea)  Then, once we get to JC Penney's, you two can drive the photographer crazy, and I'll make sure she takes out every single stuffed animal prop she owns and I'll tell her that it's the only way to get you both to smile properly.  Either way, if I have to go through all of that to get a decent picture of both of you ungrateful brats, then so help me, lord, I will.  Or you can smile right now, cooperate, say 'cheese,' and this can be over in five minutes."
    The two of them exchange a look.   They look at me again, mouths hanging.  I stand there with my camera in one hand, the other hand on my hip.  My eyes are saying that I'm dead serious.
    "So, you want us in front of the tree, yeah?"  The son was always the smarter one.  He's now nudging his sister, who's nodding frantically.  I must say, the thought of having to sit through a hair-brushing was what did it.  Her hair is very much like Hagrid's from Harry Potter.  Just PICTURE trying to run a brush through that.  It's certainly not worth all the smirking she had been doing!
    "Correct."  Camera's at the ready, I'm delighting at their change of heart.
    "And...oh, we'll pretend we're giving each other a gift?" He bends and pulls a box out from under the tree, then smiles as he hands a gift to his sister, who, in turn, smiles nicely. "Like this?"
    (snap, snap)
    Mission, accomplished.  
    I didn't really want to have to go to JC Penney's, but it's good to know that threat still works.
    - Capulet
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