Thursday, May 31, 2012

Brought Me Joy: Date Night!

Hubby and I pulled off an excellent date night earlier this week, despite our sorry economic state, and it was lovely. The best part: we spent less than $20 out of pocket!

For Mothers' Day my adorable little sister sent me "babysitting coupons" that might be one of the nicest gifts I've ever gotten. I hate asking people to babysit. I feel all kinds of awkward about it, and we simply cannot afford to pay a babysitter, so we just rarely go out. Little sis picked up on this, and sent heartfelt and adorable "guilt free" cards for me to cash in :) Thanks so much!

Then we had to decide what to do. And how to pay for it. Luckily, I'd been hoarding a GIFT CARD STASH! My husband likes to spend gift cards IMMEDIATELY, but I like to hide them away for when I really need them. I get joy just from knowing I have the possibility of a dinner or activity squirrelled away almost as much as when I actually use them. My pile is pretty thin these days, but we did have 2 Parasole gift cards we had saved from Christmas, so we decided to have dinner at Muffeletta.

Dinner was wonderful! We got a nice bread basket and popcorn before the meal, so I was full after the beer cheese soup (which was good, but a bit spicy for me & my finicky heartburn) but I appreciated the few bites of my tortellini I could stuff myself with, and hubby polished off the rest for lunch today. I kicked myself for not saving room for the bete noire which would be reason enough to go out! We each had soup, soda, and an entree and we only paid about $16 after our gift cards for the amazing spread, most of which was a generous tip.

Then we headed over to our local AMC, for which I also had a gift card hidden away. I rarely go to movies, and when I do it's almost never a full price showing, but the gift card made it manageable. We saw The Avengers, and liked it quite a bit (you didn't expect that after Battleship, right? The difference: humor. Acknowledging the absurdities somehow made them acceptable. Plus I appreciate the clever way all the individual story lines were woven together :) We even had enough for Reese's Pieces (at absurd movie price) and a large soda to split. Cost out of pocket: nothing!

I stress about money, and if we had decided to do a night like this without the gift cards, I would probably have been uptight and regretful and not enjoyed it at all, so I'm really glad it all worked out so well. Knowing this about myself, it makes sense if we ever do have a little extra float to sometimes pack away some gift cards instead of just cash, since gift cards "have" to be spent on their more indulgent purposes, whereas I'd always come up with something more practical we should be spending cash on. Spending gift cards on entertainment somehow feels more justified :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Favorite Places to Shop - Toddle Along Tuesday

I thought I was really on top of things, starting to write this post ahead of time, and then yesterday got so busy I didn't get it posted & linked...oops :( Guess I'm toddling pretty slow this week!

Long before we took the poverty plunge (deciding to stay at home with TC) I was a Goodwill devotee. I love Goodwill. I buy all of my jeans there, for $6.99 or less, and end up getting way nicer brands than I could ever afford retail. It takes a bit of work to sort through the racks and find my size, and then try on a big stack, but it's also really cool to try a bunch of different brands all at once and decide what works for me and what doesn't. For instance, I cannot handle low rise jeans (I actually have short legs and most of my height is in my waist/body). In some brands I can wear a regular length, but mostly I need a "short" or I'm gonna drag/cuff the ends. Old Navy runs large, Gap runs a little short, and Lee always feels really thick & heavy.

Goodwill was a GREAT resource for maternity pants too - again, $6.99 for most pairs and in my area they seemed barely worn. If I ever have a need for more maternity pants, I'm definitely going Goodwill - and I will spoil myself with 6 pair for the price of one new. I like to have options :)

Part of our busy day yesterday involved scouring a couple of Goodwill stores for outfits for the Run For Your Lives Zombie 5K this weekend, and I SCORED BIG TIME! It was "green tag day" so $1.49 for all green tag items, and I scored a pair of really nice jeans, and 9 costume components (no spoilers! but I picked up 5 shirts, 3 pr of shorts, and some brand new knee socks still in the packaging) all with green tags.

Goodwill, I salute you.

For shoes I've recently come around to the idea of "you get what you pay for" and started splurging on fewer pairs but better quality. I pretty much wear the same shoes every day, and my feet never hurt. Right now it's my new Clarks - still loving them, and worth every penny! Before that it was some patent mary janes from B.O.C., and for several years prior I was in love with Merrell slip ons. I like Marshalls for big discounts on all these brands, but with my last pair I just bit the bullet and bought straight from Clarks :)

For The Cupcake, I'm in love with Hannah Andersson, Baby Gap, and Children's Place, but of course I couldn't afford (or justify) those prices even when I was working. Luckily, the Just Between Friends sales have been AMAZING. This summer I bought TC a GIGANTIC wardrobe of 18 & 24 month summer clothes - awesome basics that we can mix and match like t-shirts, stretchy pants, tunics, and zip front sweaters. I have posted about my bargains a few times before - for the price of a few outfits (literally the retail cost of maybe 3 of these outfits) I got dozens of pieces. Not to mention shoes and toys too.The Cupcake's Easter outfit was one such find - a Baby Gap tiered skirt with attached leggings, matching ruffle sleeve shirt, and strawberry embroidered sweater (I think Gymboree?). She also has on a pair of WeeSqueaks shoes that were $7, so I believe this whole special occasion outfit was under $25

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bringing Back "Brought Me Joy"

Now that I'm relaxing a bit, and able to realize and appreciate things around me more, I hope to have more time to share those things that are bringing me joy, such as:

Best Ink - a reality show competition in the vein of Shear Genius (hair cutting/styling competition I also loved), but with TATTOOS! I stumbled on to it on HULU and I'm hooked. Almost makes me want to start adding to my back piece...And then I remember how much it HURT, and how much it COST, and I am just happy to watch :)


Friday, May 25, 2012

One down...

First week as a stay-at-home-mom is in the books!

It still feels kind of temporary and unreal. But actually, that's how everything has felt since TC came into our lives. Each day is about making it through, we're always in survival mode. We don't make a lot of long term plans because I really can't fathom much about the future, I'm so focused on the now. Will it always feel this way? Is this my new normal? Is it good that I'm not obsessing about what is next, or am I wearing myself out by constantly feeling on the edge? Will I eventually settle in and relax and feel in control?

This first week has been lovely. We've had an adventure every day, a cheap little distraction that got us both out of the house, gave Normy (the dog) a little break from our torture, and passed the day a little more fluidly. I didn't intend this to be our routine, as I'm actually sort of a homebody and was looking forward to sitting around in my pjs and not dealing with the world for a while, but it has been good for me to get dressed and change the scenery. We hit two mall play areas, ran a few errands, took a long walk, checked in on Grammy (can't just cut her off cold turkey!) and even ate a whole lunch out of Costco food samples one day. It's been good.

We all survived the first week of super mega tight food budget, and everyone got fed just fine. We got some "float" in that we already had a big stash of baby food, frozen dinners, and treats around the house from previous shopping trips, but overall I feel better about the possibilities. It was a little hard not to just buy a Cinnabun at the mall or whip through a drive through for a Coke - things I wouldn't have questioned much before, and appear so minor at just a few bucks each - but would have major trade offs now. Hard isn't the right word, it was fine - just required a little more thought & restraint.

Our budget is tight. It also is set up for the temporary, and not a great long term strategy. There are places we could cut - cable, in theory, or Internet - but I've decided that I'd rather have a tighter food budget and trade off Cinnabuns at the mall in favor of these few indulgences that bring me so much joy. At least right now. And I actually like Ramen noodles, so that helps a lot.

I found myself yesterday thinking for a moment "I wasted another day" when I hadn't accomplished anything on my "to do" list. And then I felt sad and guilty for thinking that.

It's like when TC was younger and I felt like all I did was try to get her to sleep, then tiptoe around trying to keep her asleep. It was like I was wishing her away, her waking hours at any rate. But at the same time, we BOTH really needed the sleep. It was temporary. And eventually, slowly, our lives have become more about the hours in between the (still too short) sleepy times.

Now that I'm home, which is by choice - a choice that required a lot of other compromise and sacrifice on the part of my whole family-a main goal is to enjoy it. To learn how to prioritize and appreciate what is is that we have compromised and sacrificed to make possible - staying at home. Raising The Cupcake. Keeping her out of daycare. Not dreading each day at the wrong job.

I hope that I can balance the additional perks - time to decide what I want to do professionally, the opportunity to accomplish tasks in off-hours,  with the additional pressures - do I HAVE to keep the house clean? (not so far...) How long until I will have to bring in some income?

And perhaps above all, I just really hope that TC learns to sleep in past 6:30am!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stuff I've gotten rid of this month:

Project: "organize + scrape up some cash" is going along beautifully. I'm sending stuff out the door by the boatload, and I haven't even had my yard sale yet. Here's a few of my big discards:
  • Hubby's dumb broken boombox that took up way too much room in the bathroom and I cursed daily (got to throw it away when he was gifted a new, tiny radio - YAY!)

  • My beloved creepy nun dolls - I had found them at the Goodwill and did a Happy Dance right in the store. I used them in the VooDoo Shop for my Romp in the Swamp Halloween party, and had them hanging out in my craft room for years before that, but they were ready for a new home. Luckily I saw a craigslist ad asking for CREEPY DOLLS (do you not love Craigslist?) and donated them to a dude who runs a nearby haunted house. I threw in a few other oddities I'd accumulated, and ended up sending a nice big paper box out the door full of junk (and to a cause I wholeheartedly support! Yay Halloween!).

  • Almost all of TC's outgrown clothes. I thought I'd save a few things for sentimental reasons, but one day when I was looking through the boxes of stuff I'd lovingly washed, folded, and sealed away I was HORRIFIED at how many things had yellowed already! (I thought only formula babies did that?!?!?) I decided then and there not to hold on to things - I had photos for posterity, and selling the clothes (& gear) through the JBF sales pretty much ends up being a "trade in" effect where selling the old pays for the "new" and we keep the kid clothed. In the past 2 months I've gotten rid of at least 4 big tubs of baby &  maternity stuff, and made a little chunk of cash doing it!

  • A whole bunch of baby formula samples - some expired (boo) and I had to throw them away, but I was able to send 3 canisters to the Postal Service food drive (and they were picked up right at my door!) so they will go to someone who needs them now.

  • A whole bunch of crappy socks & underwear in the trash. I followed the Discardia rule of putting a  garbage can in every room (okay, I didn't put one in every room, but I put one in my bedroom) and it made a HUGE difference! Instead of piling stuff on my dresser to throw away, or just not dealing with it, I pitched things on the spot and BOOM - way more drawer space, from stuff I wasn't wearing anyways.

  • The "Puff Daddy Forever" flag I've had since 1999 I guess. Despite not being a PD fan, I held on to it for all these years and throughout all my moves because it was a memento of a fun night. It was time to let go. The memory was enough. The flag could go.

  • A pair of giant platform shoes, 17 paperback books, a set of DVDs, and a baby dress - all sold on Ebay, and all for surprisingly more than I thought!
  • MY JOB & ALL THE UNHAPPINESS IT BROUGHT! It still doesn't feel quite real :)




Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It can't be a spoiler if there is no plot to begin with...

Last night my "book club" took a field trip. In case you are new here, my "book club" at one time DID read and discuss actual books, but at some point we switched to watching TV shows instead, and instead of barely meeting once a month we upped it to once a week and attendance is better than ever now. We mostly rally around True Blood, but when that is on hiatus we try other strange combos of gratuitous ab-shots and paranormal tangents, such as Walking Dead, Spartacus, and Sherlock Holmes. Usually followed by an episode or two of Wipeout or American Ninja Warrior. While I still maintain the "book club" moniker, others have dubbed it "art film night."

So clearly "willing suspension of disbelief" is not a problem for us, everything we watch (and often discuss quite scholarly) is strange and absurd (even the reality shows) and yet, last night, I think we hit on the most unbelievable of all...



I cannot even completely fathom what I just watched. And it's not the aliens that are throwing me. I'm tangentially okay with aliens, though I always prefer they don't show them directly (it's easier to believe if they're sort of imaginary still, like a book, and usually scarier) and of course when they DO show the aliens, you start deciding if that jives with your own idea of aliens, and questioning the special effects, and it just snowballs. Aliens should be implied, not fully exposed. And let's not even wonder why a movie based on a board game decided to work in aliens. This just happened. And it was potentially the MOST believable part of the movie.

More believable by far than Taylor Kitsch's character falling through the roof of a convenience store (twice) in order to impress a chick with a burrito, and then being tased (twice also). And then joining the navy, being assigned to the same area as his brother, and being made captain of the competitive soccer team.

More believable than the flattest sea imaginable with nary a wave (let alone a tsunami) despite bombs, huge spaceships, and other sky-scraper-sized debris plunging into it at a high rate of speed.

Probably more believable than Rhianna in the navy.

Definitely more believable than a crew of WWII vets helping to arm the floating museum that was once a battleship and taking it to war (with a Japanese captain nonetheless!) no questions asked.

Yeah, that last one is where the uncontrollable laughter really overwhelmed the levies and we all pretty much lost it. I have a hard time believing they could have written or filmed that "plot twist" with a straight face. I really liked Armageddon, but this was like an SNL parody of that...only serious? I expected to hear Aerosmith at any moment (and would have probably died of laughter if that had really happened).

I'm also a fan of the Friday Night Lights series, but it seemed to me that Riggins was playing Riggins and Landry was playing Landry...I am pretty sure we only went to see the movie in the first place because of Alexander Skarsgard, who they killed off much too soon (so soon we kept wondering when he would pop up again).

There were 20 minutes of bad action-flick previews, so we knew we were in for something outside of our demographic, but I don't think words can accurately convey just how laughable this movie was. I actually had a great night and was fully entertained, but I can't help but believe that was NOT the intention.

I suggest seeing this movie in an empty theatre so you can "MST3000" it. It's almost impossible to keep quiet and watch.

Oh, and Kitsch, I'm worried about you...first John Carter is a box office joke and now this bomb...I want to cheer for you, I really do, but you make it so hard...

Look! A whole post without mentioning TC!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Toddle Along Tuesdays - Firsts

We are in a string of firsts - my first week as a stay-at-home-mom, and by extension our first trips and adventures that will eventually become boring old everyday occurrences but are currently exciting and new to both of us. Right now each day I don't go to work feels like such a gift that everything new qualifies as a favorite first.

Today was our second day of Ladies of Leisure and I decided we'd better get used to not spending any money (or driving around wasting gas), so we took a trip to the playground, a walk around the neighborhood, and then came home to test out our new toy.

First day with The Cucpake's new water table.

 It was easy to set up (I actually did it in the house yesterday and she played with it dry for a long time). If you read the reviews on a lot of people complain that the "waterslide" made of those colorful pieces isn't secured, it's just stacked. That's true. She knocks it over immediately. I don't care. I bought it for the base, not the toys. And for the price ($29) this was a great deal. We have plenty of other toys to dunk in the table.

Such as the tiny Tupperware pitcher she filled up and dumped IMMEDIATELY on her head, before I even blinked:

She sputtered, laughed at herself, blew her nose, and then did it again.

That Dr. Pepper isn't hers, it's mine but just like the Plums Baby Food yesterday, she grabbed on to it on our walk and wouldn't let go for an hour and a half. Apparently it makes a good (free) water toy too.

Soaked! Luckily I HAD grabbed a towel before we started, but I was a little bummed the fun didn't last longer - after she drenched herself she immediately started shuddering and shivering (though it was pretty warm out) so we packed it in and called it a day. Lunch, Nap, and time for me to catch up on bills. Even that is a "favorite" - organizing our new lives, around our schedules.

Monday, May 21, 2012

In retrospect, this is only interesting to me...

But I'm going to post it anyways. MOST of my life is only interesting to me these days, and I'm okay with that.

It's actually a little intimidating to wake up and have a blank slate before you. Here's what TC & I ended up doing on our first day as ladies of leisure:

- Just for kicks The Cupcake decided to wake up early, around 6am. But she did sleep through the night (even if I didn't) so I can't complain too much. We played around the house for a few hours, mostly with her new "BAA!" (big pink ball - $2.99 at Target).

- Breakfast was a bit of a battle, she ate one container of food but rejected the 2nd AND rejected her "nana" (banana) which she usually loves, so I knew we needed to switch things up a bit. I packed a bag, tossed Norm a chicken patty, and we fled.

- I wasn't actually sure where we were going until we were on the road, but we headed towards Toys R Us and I remembered they had Plum Organics squishy food packets on sale for $1 this week, which is a great deal and they are really convenient for travel, so we made that our first stop. TC was very happy to walk across the parking lot holding my hand, and then pleased to sit in a cart, but once we wandered down the aisle with playhouses and chairs and outside toys she started pleading "down! down! down!" and it was so cute that I gave in.

Strategic error.

She had fun running around for about 10 minutes, at which point I was too tired to continue chasing her and buckled her back into the cart. There were many tears. More sad pleading of "down! down!" It was pathetic and I almost buckled. Luckily the tearsdried up when we headed to the food aisle to get what we came in for, and she clutched one of the food packets for THE NEXT TWO HOURS.

- She kept that packet (mango/sweet potato/millet) clutched in her hand in the car ride, and throughout our next trip to Target. I was in search of a 2nd pair of some awesome capri pants that are NOT available online, and were gone (in my size) at the other 4 stores I had looked at. Interesting discovery: Target stores are A MESS on Monday mornings as they haul out new merchandise. But it was pretty quiet, so I finally got someone to look up what stores DID have my capris, and after a quick phone call, we headed to Target #6.

- I still had a few more bucks on my gift card, so I picked up a water table for The Cupcake. I'd been coveting one for a while, the kid LOVES to splash, and we've had some beautiful hot days lately, and there was one on sale this week for $29, so I decided to blow the balance on that. During our loop around the store TC started to "woof" in the dog accessory aisle, point and yell "nana!" at the bananas, point to the fly of my pants and say "bu!" (button), and sweetly whispered "hi!" to at least 6 people. It was a strange word explosion, but she was in a good mood. And she was still clutching the food packet.

- bank pit stop. I love drive-through ATMs. Moms of the world salute you.

- she FINALLY released it when we stopped in to see Grammy and she had to run and open all the drawers in the kitchen (washcloths! dish rags! Tupperware! AMAZING!). We enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches and then headed home for TC's nap.

- She slept well, 2 1/2 hours, during which time I caught up on MadMen and ate a fancy Magnum ice cream bar (it was the closest I had to bon bons!). Decadent.

- Hubby mowed the lawn while I thew together dinner, and we ate on the patio (GORGEOUS NIGHT!). TC destroyed herself with pasta sauce and pureed peas, got dunked in a bath, and it was time for bed.

Things accomplished: good deal on baby food, 2nd pair of my favorite capris FINALLY secured, awesome summer toy acquired, free lunch scammed from Grammy, mama time enjoyed, and Cupcake entertained.

We could get used to this :)

Guess what I'm doing today?


Friday, May 18, 2012


Today was my last (half) day of work. I'm done. I'm unemployed. I'm a stay-at-home-mom.

I expected to feel more of a catharsis, an emotion so strong it's almost physical, but so far I'm just feeling...pleasant. I had a nice final morning at work, my co-workers took me out to breakfast, I cleaned out my space, and celebrated by spending part of a Target giftcard I had on fancy chocolate ice cream bars and a fountain Coke (that's pretty fancy for a newly poor person!).

And now I'm home, and TC is sleeping, and I'm sitting back on a pile of pillows finishing an episode of Bones.

I have a billion things I could be doing.

But nothing that I HAVE to be doing.


I hope you all find a moment of peace in this beautiful day.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bosom Buddies

This is so cool! My "ladies" have gone through some pretty significant changes in the past 2 years (pregnancy, pumping, deflating, weightloss...) so I have a big collection of bras that don't fit (some I only wore once!) and I feel like an ass throwing perfectly wearable stuff in a landfill. I know some people are pretty weirded out by used unmentionables, but it just doesn't gross me out - I don't know why, but I have always felt like someone somewhere could appreciate free lightly worn undergarments, especially if they are already subsisting on a wink and a prayer. What if you fled your abusive home with just the clothes on your back? What if you were homeless? What if you couldn't always feed your kids, would a new bra be one of your priorities? No. But it would be nice to have SOMETHING.

And I hate throwing good stuff in the trash. It hurts my brain a little, in a "potential to be a hoarder if I weren't so practical and running out of storage space anyways" sort of way.

I'd rather my stuff make it to people who need it than hang around a goodwill not selling too. And I'm not dealing with weirdos on Craigslist, Ebay, or yard sale for this kind of stuff.

So yay for Google, I just stumbled on The Bosom Buddy Program, which lead me to and they have Minnesota drop off sites! Fingers crossed that they are still active, if so it will mean another big bag out of my attic and hopefully to a good cause. Hug the world!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review - Tales from the Bed

I finished up the memoir I was talking about yesterday, Jenifer Estess' short life story as told to her sister Valerie. It was my first library book in YEARS, and it was a quick read (when TC wasn't trying to wrestle it out of my hands). Jenifer was diagnosed with ALS in her mid-30's and died 6 years later.

This book was just okay. The idea of ALS, the idea of a woman my age being derailed so completely and unexpectedly, forced to watch herself disintegrate, knowing that her family will go to any lengths to care for her and the guilt that brings - all of that is tragic. I felt the tragedy of the situation, but the emotion was my own, not brought on by the writing. This was a major disappointment. I had picked up the book hoping it would hold a great dramatic piece for speech competitions (I coach), but the writing is fairly flat. All the blurbs on the book talk about what a great person Jenifer was, how funny she was - and I'm sure that is true, but the book doesn't convey those things.

Speaking of the blurbs, they were by some pretty big names - Sarah Jessica Parker, Christopher Reeve, forward by Katie Couric...Jenifer had a lot of great contacts, both before and after she started her foundation to fight ALS, and their names are liberally peppered throughout the pages. Listed out at times 5-6 in a series. I'm not sure if the purpose was to thank the stars who stood by her side, or to magnify the importance of Jenifer's life by her nearness to these figures, but I found it distracting from what should have been the emotional heart of the story. I also found it disrupted what I thought to be the overall idea - Jenifer was any woman, in a place in her life where there seemed more left to do than done - she was making plans and working to achieve them. But she was never able to. Encounters with the rich and famous only served to undermine the idea that Jenifer was "any one of us". The book can't seem to decide if she was average and we should all see ourselves in Jen's plight, or if she was extraordinary and we should all be in awe.

One element that seemed glaringly absent was talk of money and insurance. Jenifer quits her job when she becomes too exhausted to navigate it any longer, and yet still is able to meet with various doctors across the country, pay for her own (multi-room) apartment in NYC, have what is eventually round the clock doesn't all add up. As someone who has had a few family medical crises and who has pretty crappy insurance right now (though is luckily healthy), this is a major concern that feels suspiciously missing from Jen's struggle. 

Both of these are probably true in the minds of her loved ones, who finished and published this book after Jenifer's death. I'm sure they did it to honor and remember her. I'm guessing that Jenifer's own words were probably too understated in their views (a lot of her friends say she was witty and joking about her situation to the end), too nonchalant to portray the greatness they felt at being a part of Jenifer's life and the sadness they felt at losing her so slowly and utterly aware.

I also felt strange about the foundation she & her sisters started. While I obviously support the idea of researching and aggressively searching for a cure or treatment, the attitudes Jen & her sisters had at starting the project seem...pompous? Can you say that bout a gravely ill person? The 3 were unhappy with the news and diagnosis, and turned their attentions to fighting the disease - but they never seemed to target their hatred there. Jenifer talks repeatedly about wanting to attack her neurologists - even the ones that were giving her good care - but that seems blatantly misplaced. The neurologists didn't make her sick. They gave her the diagnosis, they did not give her the disease.  As a former science nerd, I felt a bit defensive of their attack on scientists - yes, research may be solitary and maybe a communal process would be helpful at times, but scientists working to find cures should not be blamed for not finding them. The audacity, mostly of Jen's sisters, to decide they knew better was a bit unsettling - though, if they are right or aren't, there is little harm in trying. I also found the wording of Jen's testimony to congress to be over the top, though it may have been taken out of context. She blamed the government for not finding a cure, saying they were denying her pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. This is ridiculous. The government did not give Jen ALS. They did not even create a situation in which she could have been protected but was not. I am extremely liberal, but I do not believe the government is charged with curing all disease. It would be nice, and I basically support NIH and other public research, but I think the rage was wrongly focused.

The book documents a life, but it is not a personal journey. Personal moments are shared here and there, but it is more a document of history - this person lived, these are the facts, Jenifer Estess was here. It must have felt important to those in the story to make that known. We are moved to tears by the situation, but not by the writing. At that point, the specific life involved doesn't matter - it is generic. The final pages, which I thought would finally bring me a great emotional impact, a bonding with Jenifer - were unfortunately...just boring.

To end on a positive note - it was a good balance to read this at this time in my life, when I am terrified of not having enough money to make ends meet as I embark on my new life as a stay at home mom, when I am lamenting "difficulties" that are nothing compared to ALS - a little perspective doesn't  hurt.