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    Kristen and Tiki request the honor of your presence

    September 28, 2008

    as they are joined in holy matrimony.

    Kristen Hammond and Tiki Barber

    The only things missing: white veil, Pachebel’s Canon, and… that’s right. A pesky divorce decree from the Commonwealth, releasing me from the binds of my current marriage (and I guess one for him too). As Sarah has been getting more points in our fantasy football league this weekend then the entire 11 other people put together, I was tempted to feel depressed. Then I hopped over to her blog to see her wedding picture with Tiki, and I noticed SHE DOESN’T HAVE ONE. Did she put her arm around Tiki Barber and hold on for dear life at the National Book Festival while sporting a press pass (thank you, PBS!!)? Um, no. So you can keep your damn 142 fantasy football points, SARAH, and I’ll have to settle for a loss and Tiki Barber as a spouse. Tiki Barber, author-extraordinaire.

    I think I’ll be just fine.

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    Yes, I am pregnant, and no, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth

    September 24, 2008

    I thought I would just drop the pregnancy in there. It was really the setup for the video I was going to post (to explain my arms that look remarkably like my THIGHS used to) but then I have had so many technical difficulties with computers in this house that I had a video that kept stopping. That is annoying. And it had the eff word too many times (looking at you, Susie Sunshine and you, Julie). So no video.

    But I had promised a video so then I couldn’t post anything else. The problem is, when the emotional concerns are running high in your family and you don’t post on the internet, you start getting the “you aren’t going to kill yourself, are you?” emails. No, Internet. I am not going to kill myself. Not even remotely. Sure I have an alien lifeform eating my internal organs and the smell of AIR still manages to make me ill, but besides that, I’m just busy. I picked up 22 new stores at the show in Vegas and now I have to actually work for a living. Not that I don’t have time for you. I just couldn’t get beyond not posting the video.

    On a lighter note, my mother has gone on the record asking me to stop referring to The Baby as The Devil. She says that is disrespectful to The Baby. Apparently when she was here he didn’t take every single damn pot/pan/bowl/dish out of every single cabinet and cart them through the house in a wheelbarrow. He didn’t take all the food out of the freezer and hide it. Location TBD. He didn’t take a costco-sized bag of Cheerios (which he recovered from the very top of the fridge) and dump them on the kitchen floor. He didn’t stab her in the leg with a butcher knife. Apparently she didn’t have to remove any and all objects that may be used as a climbing apparatus from the main floor of the house to keep him from scaling the counter and eating all the coffee beans from the grinder. She didn’t have to take down the curtains to keep him from swinging on them in the living room (bending the rods). He didn’t turn all the lights on and leave the doors open in HER car so that it wouldn’t start when it was her turn to pick up all the kids at school. This didn’t happen to her in the last 36 hours.

    He didn’t take 35 of HER keyboard keys off HER brand-spanking-new laptop when she made lunch. For four minutes. I want you to know, Internet, that The Baby is still alive. If ever my heart has known a dark moment, I’m going to have to say it was today. And I don’t care how damn cute that kid is, he should be lucky that we live in the country. Had the opportunity presented itself to drop him off on a crowded sidewalk with a “Free” sign written in Sharpie on his chest, I’m just saying I would have had a momentary dilemma. Instead I screamed and cried until I thought my head would explode and I put him to bed. His brother kept saying over and over again, “Please call Dad. Dad can fix it, Mom. I know he can. Maybe the P.S. (UPS) guy can bring you another computer. He can, Mom. Or Dad can fix it.”

    2 1/2 hours later and I had reattached 28 of the keys. Who needs the shift key anyway? And the space bar? SOOO overrated. I’m not saying that alcohol is the answer to all of life’s problems, Internet, but I am saying that today was definitely a Mommy Needs a Cocktail day. Too bad I’m on the pregnancy wagon.

    This parenting thing is so awesome I’m thinking we should totally have another one.

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    Don’t stay at the Bellagio

    September 15, 2008

    Long time, no post.  It’s a long story.  It’s really depressing but tomorrow there will be a video that’s funny.  And incriminating.

    Ten days ago I showed up in Vegas.  My dear friend Wendy arrived for the trade show before me and she and her friend Lisa picked me up at the airport.  They dropped me off at the convention center to set up my booth.  Which I did.  Then I took a cab to the Bellagio to check in.

    About halfway there, I realized I had no wallet.  Don’t worry.  I was smart.  I had all my money and id and credit cards in the SAME PLACE so if it was gone, it was gone.  I found enough money to cover my cab fare and stumbled into the Bellagio.  I explained my dilemma to the nice guy behind the counter.

    Bellagio Barry:  Ma’am.  We must have a government-issued identification and a credit card to check you in this evening.  Where did you leave your wallet?
    K:  Hi, Barry.  If I KNEW where my wallet was, it wouldn’t be lost.

    Yes, I said it.  But that has to be the dumbest thing anyone can say when someone loses something.  Seriously.

    BB:  Ma’am.  I can’t let you check in.
    K:  Barry, I can’t possibly be the first person to LOSE HER WALLET IN LAS VEGAS.
    BB:  We can’t help you.
    K:   Listen.  My husband can fax you a copy of my passport and a credit card guarantee.
    BB:  Ma’am, that won’t work.  We need originals.  We can let you stay for the night since you have one night prepaid but you’ll have to show the id and credit card tomorrow or check out.
    K:  It’s  Saturday night. It’s 9:30 pm at my house.  That’s not possible.
    BB:  Sorry.  I can’t help you.

    I kept it together until I got back to my room.  I ask you, Internet.  Is this any way to treat a pregnant woman? I called my husband and I was hysterical. A tree had fallen on the road about 60 seconds before he drove down it with my mother and kids earlier, so he was already in a funky mood. Something about nearly killing everyone. He asked for the number to the front desk. He said he would take care of it.

    I called room service.

    RS: Ma’am, you are cash only. Will you be paying with cash?

    So now I have 4 dollars and I can’t afford a bottle of water at the Bellagio. Wendy calls and offers to bring me money. I tell her that Derek is fixing everything. He calls back to tell me that he CAN send a credit card and the front desk doesn’t understand why Barry told me that I couldn’t. I stop crying. I have tweeted it all and I get 5 calls from the internet, offering to wire me money. Chocolate Fountain Fairy Godmother tries to get some guy she knows in Vegas to bring me money. I try to break into the minibar while I wait for Derek to get the form and fax it back.

    Except they forget to fax the form. He has to call back twice. I break into the minibar and help myself to the $12 cashews. I call my husband crying again. He calls AGAIN and they send him the form. It’s 2 1/2 hours later. Too late to eat. I go to bed, excited for breakfast.

    I wake up at 5:00 am and order room service, only to find that I am still cash only. I tweet this bad news and call my husband. Who is livid. He stayed up past midnight to get that form to them and they didn’t put it in the computer when they got it. I call the front desk. They tell me my CC authorization is for room only. I tell them to look for the form. They tell me they can’t help me. I tell them I am pregnant. They say they are sorry, but they can’t help me. I say I haven’t eaten since noon the day before. They say “sorry” and tell me they will authorize it with room service. Room service calls me 10 minutes later to ask if I have remedied the situation. The front desk has failed to call them. I call the front desk again and they are sorry again. Room service calls again and the girl finally shows me mercy and says she’ll send breakfast.

    Two breakfasts arrive. CFFG has managed to convince someone to take HER credit card over the phone for food and my order has gone through as well.

    I eat. I pack my bags. I call Susie Sunshine and ask her to book a room at the Renaissance with her credit card so we have a room when she arrives later on that day. I check out of the Bellagio. But not before I ask for a manager.

    Christina: You were scheduled to check out tomorrow, Ms. Hammond.
    K: ACTUALLY I was scheduled to check out on THURSDAY. But I’m leaving today.

    I recounted my story and Christina does her best to not look horrified. I tell her that I understand people lie in Las Vegas. I understand that everyone is trying to pull something over on everyone else. But I was NOT trying to pull anything over on the Bellagio. I was just trying to figure out the policy for guaranteeing my stay so I could eat my damn $17 burger in peace.  Did I mention that I am a PREGNANT WOMAN with no food?

    I was clear. I never asked for ANYTHING for free. I was asking how I could pay in lieu of a lost wallet on a SUNDAY in Las VEGAS. She acknowledged that the system was broken. I clarified that it was broken THREE TIMES–incorrect info at check-in, repeated failure to fax the form to my husband for hours and then failure to put the authorization in the computer. This isn’t the Day’s Inn, people. For heaven’s sake, it’s the damn Bellagio. She comped my breakfast and my nuts. I would have just liked dinner when I asked for it.  She asked if I would fill out a comment form.  I told her that the Bellagio could just check it out on the Internet.

    I was supposed to get together with the awesome Marge from Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas but I never did manage to get my act together. I didn’t even call her. Sorry, Marge! I was a wreck!! Next year?

    I promise it will only be rainbows and unicorns from here on out.  Just had to kick some Bellagio ass, if you know what I mean.

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    wouldn’t it be awesome if the calories you ate in Vegas, STAYED in Vegas

    September 5, 2008

    I’ll be in Vegas this time tomorrow.  I called Susie Sunshine crying and whining that I just couldn’t do it.

    SS:  What’s the problem?

    There is no one in this world that is more unaffected by anything that Susie Sunshine.  Nothing bugs her.  Maybe it’s surviving 4 boys.  Maybe it’s that she is Lutheran.  Maybe it’s living in that place in Michigan that will require three flight segments to get to Vegas on Sunday.  I don’t know.

    K:  I just pulled The Baby out of a vat of white ink (wailing).
    SS:  You pull one of those kids out of a vat of ink EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Today it’s white.  What did you do?
    K:  I kinda sorta cleaned him off.
    SS:  Well that’s good.
    K:  Hold on.  Nathan, stop chewing on that box of matches.
    SS:   You’ll get your stuff done.
    TB:  Mom.mom.mom.mom.  There is a penny stuck to your bottom.
    K:  Nathan, stop smacking my ass.  That’ll teach me to run around in my underwear.
    SS: You are in your underwear?
    K: Please. Nathan just walked by with a hammer and a three inch roofing nail. I gotta go.
    SS: Do you have any idea how funny conversations with you are?
    K: It’s not funny when it’s happening to you.

    I won’t even tell you ahat happened when I attempted to close my eyes for two seconds yesterday and I woke to the front door slamming when The Husband came home. Have you ever noticed how packing popcorn can multiply like fleas and how easy it is to actual cover an entire room? Or two? Not that we would know anything about that…

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    No, really, a stay in a lookout cabin is a great idea

    September 2, 2008

    Lunch Peak Lookout, ID

    Altitude: 6,414 feet

    Remarks: There is no heat, furniture, water or cooking facilities. Outhouse nearby. Plan for camping minus the tent. Access to Lunch Peak Lookout is by primitive dirt road. High clearance vehicles are recommended. This lookout is located in bear country. See our “Safety in Bear Country” brochure for things you can do to avoid attracting bears while camping or hiking. 

    Outhouse nearby.

    Try 300 yards away.

    Bear country?  The Husband was all, “what did you do with that grilled cheese sandwich the boys didn’t eat” and I was all, “it’s on the table over there” and he gave me a look.  I would like to clarify that we were at the highest point within MILES, up 15 feet and the wind was gusting at 50 mph, easily.  You know what, little grizzly or little black bear?  If you can possibly smell that grilled cheese sandwich all the way up here in my concrete abode, you are more than welcome to it.   And the kids too, for that matter.

    Seriously, people, I can’t think of anything better than staying in a room 15 feet above the ground at the very top of a mountain with magnificant dropoffs to skull-crushing rocks below for a little getaway with a one-year-old and a three-year-old. Luckily they are so mild-mannered and disinterested in any form of danger.

    TB:  Mom.mom.mom.mom.mom.  What’s that?  (pointing to the edge of the precarious cliff on three sides of us)

    K:  That would be instant death.

    You know, I’m not one of those moms who worries about danger.  I give you the facts, put you on a long leash and then generally let you go pretty close to making a bad decision when I give the leash a vicious yank and yell, “MAKE A GOOD DECISION.”  This place?  This one had me going a little bit but I came prepared.  With almost no food.  Nothing says, “Let’s get the hell off this hotbed of danger” better than “we have two power bars to share so we should probably head back to civilization for a nice three-egg omelet at the Panhandler.”

    The view was amazing.  Who knew there were actual stars in the sky and moons around Jupiter?  Still, I think we are going to wait a little while longer to try this one again.  I can only take one near heart attack a year.

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