Rantings From the Lunacy of Motherhood

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Four Women and a Pig: A Hogwarming Tale of Pignacious Strength and Soweet Victory

Someone asked me the other day if I had done anything exciting over the summer.  At first I couldn’t come up with any one thing in particular that stood out, until I remembered something that I had done over the summer that was a bit out of the ordinary.

It started off as all good ideas do. My friends and I were having a few cocktails… Someone had the bright idea that we should wrestle a hog in the county fair which was going on at the time.  In our alcohol induced haze, it seemed like a great idea to all of us.  Even a couple of mornings later, when we were required to actually register for the event, it still seemed like a good idea.  We even came up with a name “Chasing Tail.” (Pun intended)

I blame it partially on the fact that one of my friends is one of those girls who are persistently positive and enthusiastic about everything, no matter how distasteful it may be.  We all have one of those friends… You know, the kind who could easily convince you that walking across a bed of hot coals in your bare feet would be “Great!” You manage to get caught up in their enthusiasm and then, when you come to your senses, you hate to let them down (either that or it’s too late). On a side note, everyone needs to have one of these friends.  They force you to step out of your comfort zone and do things you never would do otherwise (even though it is usually against your better judgment).

The day before the event the reality of what we were doing sunk in, and I began to wonder exactly what I had gotten myself into.  A couple of us decided we had made our bed and we might as well lie in it.  We didn’t want to let the rest of our team down, and we did have to save face, after all.  After spending a few days talking swine smack, we had a reputation to live up to.

What is hog wrestling, you may ask?  If you’re picturing pigs dressed in shiny singlets triumphantly entering a ring amidst flashing lights and loud music, you’d be sadly mistaken.  Think more along the lines of a huge mud puddle into which you and three of your closest friends are tossed with an innocent pig and expected to come out the victors. Did I mention that you need to duck tape your shoes to your pants so that they don’t come off as you are slogging through the mud?

So, there we were with our shoes and the bottom of our pants wrapped in duck tape, ready to go in knee deep mud after a little piggy, in front of packed stands.  (Believe it or not, so many usually show up for the hog wrestling that they have to turn people away.  It’s a small town, what else is there to do?) Seriously, what were we thinking?  As they literally tossed our pig into the pen, I knew it was go time.  One of the gals on my team who grew up on a farm and was familiar with catching pigs to castrate them (don’t ask, I did… you don’t want to know…) was the first one to get to the pig.  I got a hold of his ear.  I wish I could say I did it on purpose and knew some kind of secret ninja hog wrestling technique to put an ear lock on the animal and bring him to his knees, but unfortunately, it was just the only body part I could manage to get a grip on. Not very helpful, I know, but I did manage to help lift the bugger up once my stalwart farm friend had corralled him.  The only other thing I clearly remember from those 12 seconds was that I proudly flounced the poor beast down on the tire with great aplomb and then raised my hands in the air in a victorious wave afterwards.

No, we didn’t win, the winning women’s time was seven seconds, and it took us twelve. But the important thing is, we got the sucker. As a matter of fact, we decided we would do it again next year (no alcohol involved this time).  I did, however, feel a little guilty when we went to the pork tent for dinner afterwards…

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The First Day of School, a.k.a. Is that the Hallelujah Chorus I hear playing?

Today was the first day of school.  I was scrolling through facebook, looking at all the smiling faces of kids on their first day, and reading the comments from the moms about how much they were going to miss their kids and how sad they were that their babies were going back to school.  It made me wonder what it said about me as a parent that not only was I not sad that my kids were back in school, I was positively giddy over the fact that I would have my days back to myself.  What’s wrong with me?

It’s not that I don’t love my kids or enjoy being around them, but when I am home with them I find myself constantly on my toes wondering what they are going to need next.  My oldest, though he’s only 10, has developed the sullenness that I had previously only attributed to teenage angst. I thought I still had another few good years with him…  He spent most of the summer moping around the house and/or complaining about the fact that I made him go to the pool and play outside. He was only truly happy when he was playing Minecraft or talking to his friends on the phone about playing Minecraft. I was constantly wondering what was going to push him over the edge into a dramatic pool of tears and screams of “Geez! That’s harsh, mom!” (Usually in reaction to the fact that I made him turn off the computer.)

My youngest is very high maintenance.  He always wants something.  If he is playing outside, he will literally come in the house every five minutes for some incidental thing.  He needs a drink.  He needs to go to the bathroom.  He needs a snack.  He needs to ask me if he can go down to his friend’s house. He needs to ask me where his brother is, etc. ad nauseum.  It is impossible for me to get anything done because I am distracted every few minutes.  Every time I get interrupted, I forget what I was doing before I was interrupted, thus causing myself further delay as I attempt to retrace my steps and figure out what I was trying to accomplish. (Although I can’t blame this entirely on my son.  I’ve found that ever since I hit 40, my memory just isn’t what it used to be.)

Then there’s the fighting.  If I hear one more time “He hit me!” “He kicked me!” “He called me stupid!” or, “He’s making me watch his TV show!” (God forbid), I think I will slit my wrists. I only hope that as I slip into unconsciousness, my children are not beating each other senseless in the blood pooled around my lifeless body. Whenever we go anywhere in the car we have to play “The Quiet Game” in order to maintain the peace in the back seat. The first child that says anything or crosses over the line to the other one’s side of the car before we got to our destination will lose his screen time for the rest of the day. (I’ve found that screen time is the only thing that truly motivates my children) Of course, as soon as we get to our destination, all bets are off, but at least while I drive, I can focus on the road without having to be referee at the same time. (Although the quietness in the back seat is rather unnerving and makes me wonder what they were up to.)

What did I do today you may ask?  I enjoyed a nice quiet cup of coffee, I mopped my floors without interruption, I did laundry without having to run up and down the stairs to service a child umpteen times, I went to Hapkido class without having to worry about getting back and pick up my kids, and I was actually able to work on my blog for the first time in several weeks.  Ahhh… life is good.


Hold on, I need to put my bra on…

When I get home at night, I like to get into what I like to call my “comfy clothes”.  This usually consists of sweats or workout shorts, depending on the season, and either a t-shirt or a tank top.  Regardless of the season, the one thing this outfit definitely does not include is a bra.  Because I am mammarily challenged, I can get away without having to wear this unwieldy contraption when I am in the comfort of my own home, and as I am much more comfortable without having my chest strapped 50 ways to Sunday amidst unforgiving wire and uncomfortable elastic, I try to get away without wearing one whenever it is safe (a.k.a. there is no one around who will be offended by a little, (and when I say little, I do mean “little”) loose boobage).

I came downstairs after washing my face and getting into my “comfy clothes” the other night to discover the front door wide open and no kids or puppy in sight. I stepped out the front door to find a neighbor on our porch, dressed in her work finery with some paperwork she needed to give my husband who is on the board of our conservancy district with her. She must have noticed my confused expression because she proceeded to inform me that the dog had run out when my youngest, who is not even supposed to answer the front door, opened the front door.  Using my arms to cover as much unintended nippleage as possible, I ran across the yard in my bare feet, trying to coax Archie back into the house all the while hoping that the jaunty bounce of my chest area wasn’t noticeable to any passers by, and cursing the impromptu drop in.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I get home, I feel I can finally let down my guard and not have to worry about the carefully maintained push-up bra image I attempt to portray to the rest of the world.  Luckily for me, my husband and children accept me for who I am, cleavage or lack thereof.  There’s something comforting about being able to schlep around in loose clothes and not having to worry about whether or not your boobs are being displayed to their best advantage.

While we’re on the subject, why is it that when someone drops by unannounced, it’s always at the exact time that the dog has yacked up his dinner in the middle of the entryway, your kids have decided to stage a Lego battle in the middle of the front hallway, and the remnants of the meal the family has just eaten and you have yet to clean up are still clinging to the kitchen table, floor, and maybe even the ceiling?  You want to scream “I swear we’re not like this all the time!  We’re really fairly neat people, come back another time when I have actually invited you and you’ll see.”

Perhaps I should just embrace my natural self, and tell the world to suck it up and accept me for who I am, dirty dishes, loose boobs and all.  Hmmmm… yeah, well, that’s not going to happen.  I guess I’d better go put my bra on, the in-laws are coming over…

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Land of the Free, Home of the Unpleasant, Distasteful, and Otherwise Unappealing

Ahh, Independence Day.  The day we celebrate our Nation’s Liberty and our own freedom to do as we darn well please.  Take, for example, the gentleman I saw wearing a homemade superhero cape complete with a helmet, or the lady with her dachshund who happened to be wearing a protective cone around his neck, or the other lady dressed up in a fancy bright orange dress.  Was this a formal superhero ball to benefit small dogs that can’t stop biting themselves, you may ask?  No, it was none other than our local fireworks show.

I believe that the Independence Day festivities almost rival the county fair for their ability to draw out the underbelly of the population in all its splendor. Nothing says Fourth of July like a full body tattoo and an ear disk, I always say.  Sure, you don’t have carnival rides and food booths like you do at the fair, but who needs them when you have a glow sticks and Port O Lets? Maybe you can’t enjoy the intoxicating aroma of Elephant Ears wafting through the air, but you can take pleasure in the heady smell of gunpowder.

I know some may say that the lingering smoke from the exploded fireworks and the fact that you are forced to sit for almost an hour on the hard ground with your neck craned up to see the sky may make a fireworks show an uncomfortable experience, but I believe anything that is worthwhile involves a little bit of discomfort.  (Think mammograms and colonoscopies)

As I sat there next to the tattooed teenagers making out on the blanket next to mine, enjoying the beautiful lights in the sky and getting a whiff of the cigarette smoke coming from the man yelling obscenities at his toddler on the other side of me, I couldn’t help but wonder what our Founding Fathers would think.  Would they be impressed with the fact that we are able to dress as we please, even if that involves donning a tiny tube top and short shorts on a body that really screams for something more substantial? Would they be glad that we have the freedom of choice, no matter if that choice involved getting drunk and almost setting ourselves on fire with illegal fireworks?  Was this what they had in mind when they created the Declaration of Independence? Somehow I don’t believe that such tomfoolery was part of their vision. Hmmm…

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Even though you eat cat poo, I still love you.

Dear Archie,

Though I may not understand why you insist on chewing our baseboards, I still love you. Nor am I able to grasp the propensity you have for eating cat poo. The vet tells me that I can feed your feline friends something to make their feces not taste as appealing to you, but I keep coming back to the thought “It’s poop- should I really need to do something to make it taste bad?”

Although I appreciate the fact that you want to protect me, is it really necessary to bark as if I am being attacked by a mad killer every time I spray hairspray? On that same note, no amount of your barking and/or snorting is going to make that pesky vacuum cleaner be any quieter or quit moving around. However, I’m sure the good barking to that you give it every time you go by the closet where it hides has made it think twice about rolling around all over the place willy-nilly picking up the dirt in the house. I must say, I am proud of the fact that you are nondiscriminatory and are just as vigilant with the Swiffer as you are the vacuum.

If I were able to ask you anything I wanted to it would probably be “Why do you insist on doing your business on the porch, instead of the yard?” Is our yard not up to your exacting potty standards? Would you prefer a taller/thicker and/or greener grass? Would different vegitation coerce you to venture out far enough so as not to soil our deck? Or, perhaps you had a traumatic event whilst relieving yourself in the grass when you were a puppy. My husband likes to think that you are just too lazy to go off the porch, but I certainly don’t believe that.

On another note, even though I know that you love the kitties, I regret to inform you that the kitties don’t reciprocate your feelings. Perhaps you have noticed that the eager barks, sniffs, and licks you bestow upon them fail to impress them. You may find it hard to believe, but your feline friends do not appreciate this type of behavior, although if it makes you feel any better, I think you look awfully cute when you pester, I mean serenade, them. Perhaps your time would be better served doing something productive, like cleaning up the dog food that you regurgitated on my carpet earlier today.

I know some people may say you stink, but I prefer to think you smell “houndy”. While we’re on the subject, just because you drool from time to time, I will not hold it against you. Luckily for you, you look pathetic enough that people overlook your obvious social inadequacies and can’t help but say “Awww…” when they see you.

Again, I’m sorry about the whole neutering thing. Sorry too, about the “Cone of Shame”. While I realize that there are many people (all of them male) who would be very impressed with your ability to lick your own genitalia, the vet has assured me that, at least until your stitches dissolve, this type of behavior is a really bad idea.


Your loving owner

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The Geek Gene- Urban Myth or Reality?

I have always kind of suspected my oldest son might be a nerd, but any hopes I might have had for his coolness were crushed at the sleepover we had this weekend. One of his friends came in babbling excitedly about “playing Dungeons and Dragons all night”, and I knew my visions of Elijah as the “bad boy” were dashed. (Unless, of course, you mean bad as in the sense that he can slay a dragon and find a treasure at the same time based on the roll of dice.)

Spirited dinner talk revolved around Minecraft, Lego Star Wars, and, interestingly enough, a lively discussion about Greek Gods. I was completely lost, but my husband seemed to follow most of it. (I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…) I suppose the poor child was destined to be a nerd on some level, considering that my husband still has all his old D & D paraphernalia from his childhood, and I was a proud NHS card-carrying band geek complete with glasses, braces, and no boys that were willing to get anywhere near me, let alone date me, no matter how bad I wanted them to.

I like to think that I have overcome my early nerdiness and progressed on to become a functional, hip member of society, but sometimes I still wonder. Perhaps my interest in martial arts is just a way to overcompensate for my latent dorkiness. As I put on my black dobok and tie my black belt, it’s almost possible to believe that I, Lise Roberson, a.k.a. “four eyes”, am truly a badass. It’s difficult to see yourself as a nerd when you have thrown a grown man who is at least twice your size to the ground and are in the position to break his arm if you so choose. (Take that, mean girls who used to make me cry at my locker…)

I still find myself with my nose in a book a lot of the time, and although I don’t wear glasses anymore, I do wear contacts. Perhaps it is also telling that I sometimes still feel like the wimpy kid on the playground when I am in the dojo and everyone else can pick up something easily that I know it is going to take at least several weeks of repeated practice to coerce my uncoordinated body to master. (Ahhh, the Ghost of Dorkiness Past raises his ugly bifocal-clad head)

One of the differences between my son and me at his age is that he knows he’s a geek. As a matter of fact, he’s proud of it. One day after I asked him why he did something particularly goofy, he said “Mom, I’m a nerd!” with delight. My friends and I, however, labored under the mistaken impression that we were cool. I don’t think it ever occurred to us that maybe we were a bit nerdy. Nothing’s hotter than a gal in a band uniform wearing headgear, don’t you know. We had boys lined up around… well, OK, we didn’t have any guys lined up, but that didn’t stop us from trying. Perhaps it was good thing that we remained blissfully unaware of our lack of cool and were able to enjoy our childhood believing we were “with it”, at least in our own minds.

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Over My Dead Body and Through the Ringer on A Family Trip We Go

What could be more fun than heading off in the family truckster with both kids and the grandparents for several hours of driving fun until we reach our destination, at which point we will be forced to spend every hour of the next few days together?  By this, I mean, no going over to friends’ houses, no video games, no Tae Kwon Do classes to keep the kids occupied, just three whole days of uninterrupted family time.  Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded family trip.

It always starts off innocent enough, what with me being the queen of organization and anality. I make sure we have all the clothing, snacks, and swim paraphernalia that we may need, but somewhere about 2 hours down the road things always go sour.  My youngest is hungry but none of the plethora of snacks I packed meet his exacting standards.  My oldest is upset because his brother got to use my Kindle last when, of course, it was his turn (by the way, when do I get a turn?).  My husband is irritated because he’s sure the Garmin is lying to him and attempting to lure us away from our appointed course, and my mother-in-law is stressed because she is stuck in the middle of all the bickering.  I’m hopped up on car sickness medicine which, luckily for me, has the side effect of making me drowsy, so I sleep through most of the cacophony, much to my mother-in-law’s chagrin.  My father-in-law is the only one who manages to remain sane and drug free. He sits in the very back seat all alone and keeps to himself. (Smart man)

Once we get to the hotel, after the chaos of checking in amidst cries of “When are we going to the pool? Mommy, where’s the pool?” (Like we don’t have a pool at home that they swim in almost every day…), my youngest whining because he doesn’t get to carry in the suitcase, and/or it was his turn to push the elevator button, we make our way noisily down the hallway to our room.  Of course, when we get to the room, an altercation ensues over who gets to slide the key card into the door to open it.  I’m sure the other guests were thrilled when we finally made it into the soundproofed sanctity of our own room and left them in peace.

As we bundled our rag-tag bunch together and dragged them from one attraction to another, I couldn’t help but dream of a relaxing vacation on a tropical island alone with nothing but a light tropical breeze and a cold beverage to keep me company. Of course, then I wouldn’t get the delightful experience of hearing my six-year-old whine because he didn’t get to see the lambs at the historical town we visited.  We found all the other animals:  the horse, the ox, even the chickens; however, because the sheep managed to elude us, the rest of the morning went to hell and a hand basket.  At the beach I would also not be able to enjoy my 10-year-old throwing a fit because we didn’t get to go to the ice cream social with Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, even though moments before, he couldn’t finish his dinner because he was so stuffed (dessert goes in a different compartment in the stomach, don’t you know).

When all was said and done, I think both kids had a good time. The only thing that kept the little one going most days was the fact that he would get to go swimming when we got back to the hotel in the evening, but hey, at least he was happy.  I also learned something (besides the fact that it’s a really bad idea to take pictures somewhere where you have been explicitly told that photography is prohibited). I learned that if you really make an effort to enjoy something, even if you were perhaps less than enthusiastic to begin with, you might just surprise yourself and have a good time.  If all else fails, I highly recommend a good meal and an ice-cold beer to cure what ails you after a long day of herding kids and/or uncooperative adults all over kingdom come.

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I’m in Funky Town…

OK, I admit it, I haven’t blogged in a long time. My goal at the beginning of the year was to write a blog every week, but, alas, I have fallen short for the last few weeks. All I can say is, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I don’t know if it is the letdown after my black belt test, the fact that the kids are now home all day every day (fyi- if they’re home, they’re fighting with each other), the fact that I am not able to substitute teach and contribute to my family’s income (aka- have extra money so I don’t have to feel guilty every time I go out for a Margarita with the girls), or just the overall feeling of malaise that I have been experiencing. Nonetheless, I frankly have not felt inspired by much lately. It almost makes me wish I wrote a nice, informative blog. No matter how uninspired I might feel, I could still post a recipe, or I could post pictures of my latest trip to Berlin, or I could give tips on how to give your cat a bath, and no one would be the wiser. Unfortunately for me, I’m not really in a position to give anyone advice or information on much of anything, so I settle for being witty and entertaining in the hopes that I might brighten someone’s otherwise dreary existence. Therefore, if I am not feeling witty or entertaining, I’m screwed.

So, what’s a gal to do? How am I going to pull myself out of the self-imposed funk I have mired myself in? I have the beginnings of at least four different blogs, but I can’t seem to find a way to finish any of them that sits right with me. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be anything overly exciting looming on the horizon to motivate me, either. Just the long, hot days of summer stretching out endlessly in front of me… I guess it is up to me to make my own destiny, so I herby resolve to find something every week, no matter how mundane, that I can at least muster up a bit of humorous banter about in order to keep you, the reader, if not interested, at least mildly entertained.

Stay tuned…


I got my black belt. Now what?

Well, I did it.  I finally got my black belt.  After four years of working single mindedly (some might say obsessively) towards one goal what am I to do now?  I suppose the first post black belt thing I need to do is give my body a few days of much-needed rest.  I spent most of the day after my test on the couch with various ice packs adorning the most painful areas, hopped up on as many over the counter painkillers as I could feasibly handle.  Although it is a great feeling of accomplishment to be able to achieve this at the age of 45, my body doesn’t seem to be as thrilled about it as my psyche is.

Part of becoming a black belt is being a leader and role model to other martial artists, which allows me to help teach.  I particularly enjoy this responsibility, maybe because I am very anal and the idea of showing others the minute intricacies of every move appeals to me, as does seeing others achieve success and have those “Ah Ha!” moments when they finally discover the “secret” to doing something they have been struggling with.  On a totally selfish note, I like teaching because it is easier on my body.  It is a lot less painful to teach than it is to defend against 2 or 3 black belts (usually men who are much bigger and stronger)coming at me trying to choke me, kick me, or otherwise do me bodily harm.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being attacked (I’m really a masochist at heart), my body just usually ends up much worse for the wear afterwards.

In the back of my mind, there is also the distant goal of my 2nd dan to be considered.  Yes, I know, it’s over two years away, but, in my book, it’s never too early to start getting ready.  My friends, familiar with my compulsive tendencies, have taken bets as to how long I can relax before I feel compelled to start working towards my next belt.  (Side note-  As I publish this, less than 48 hours after I passed my test, I have already picked up the testing sheet for my next promotion.)

Finally, I think I will just savor the moment before life intrudes and brings me back down to earth.  It’s only a matter of time before my kids start fighting or the puppy poops on the floor and knocks me down off my black belt high.  Better enjoy it while I can…

I'm the shortest one, in the middle with the pony tail on top of my head.

I’m the shortest one, in the middle with the pony tail on top of my head.


Ode To Man

I know you mean well, but I really don’t need someone to tell me how to use a plunger.  I have been clearing toilets regularly for at least eight years now, coincidentally since about the same time our oldest son was potty trained, and have become quite adept at unblocking commodes (although I will admit, I do grumble every time I have to grab the plunger).  Nor do I need you to look over my shoulder when I am working on the computer to tell me what keys to hit or what to click on.  If you will recall, I’m the one who usually fixes any technological issues we have with “that piece of crap” as you like to call it.  While we’re on the subject, I also don’t need your advice on how to drive.  I know you may find it hard to fathom, but I am quite skilled at seeing oncoming traffic, people walking down the sidewalk, and traffic lights without you pointing them out to me.  I am reasonably confident that I can figure out the appropriate time to brake as I am going around a curve, and believe it or not, I am actually rather proficient at knowing when to use a turn signal (although perhaps I don’t strictly adhere to your 300 ft before the turn policy) .  All that said, I will however, admit that I do need you for jar opening and spider catching.  In those areas your skill greatly surpasses mine.

I also would like it to be noted that I would love to be able to send you to get something and have you actually be able to find it, particularly considering it is usually in plain sight right in front of you (exactly where I told you it would be, I might add).

By the way, is it too much to ask you to wipe off the counter in the kitchen after you make a sandwich? While the crumbs and mustard dollops may not bother you, I really hate it when, after making my sandwich on said counter and sitting down on the couch to eat it, I get a mustard stain on my favorite jeans (which, incidentally, I had specifically picked for the outfit I was wearing) off of the bottom of my plate.  Did I mention I hate mustard?  Now, not only do I have the aroma of the offending yellow goo wafting up from my clothing, I have to redo my whole outfit?

How is it that while you can shoot at and hit a clay pigeon twenty five feet in the air with a small piece of shrapnel, you can’t manage to get a tiny stream of urine to go into a hole several inches in front of you that is roughly the size of a basketball hoop?

I hate to admit it, but I sometimes envy the oblivion you are able to live in.  You have no clue as to the turmoil and tribulation of emotions that go on around you, right under your nose. If you only knew the thought and consideration we women put in to everything we did and said, you might take us more seriously (mostly because you’d be worried about the repercussions if you didn’t).

I do appreciate the fact that you are always there to “fix” things, although, let’s be honest, when all is said and done, sometimes we end up worse off than we were before your attempts at repairing, even if I’d never admit that to your face as I know you would be crushed. It is comforting to know that someone is at least making an attempt to look out for my well being, misguided though it may be.

Let’s face it, my life would be a whole heck of a lot less interesting without you around, and I wouldn’t have half as much amusement, so I guess I’ll keep you around.  Plus, the kids seem to enjoy playing with you, which takes some of the heat off of me.  You’re a good provider, always mean well, and put up with my more annoying habits (which I prefer to call quirks).  Now, if only I could get you to actually put the new roll of toilet paper on the dispenser and put my kitchen utensils back in the correct drawer (No, I don’t want to know what you were doing with them), I think we can manage to eke out a peaceful, mutually satisfying coexistence.