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Posts Tagged ‘Tom’

That’s right, it’s over.  I had such a delightful time while staying with Chiara and Tom and the two girls;  I wish I could have spent more time with Finley which is what they expect me to say.  However, I spent considerable time with Francesca;  We read, we drove to school, we looked at 245 Halloween photos three times.  I made her a rubber band bracelet, dressed her, undressed her and brushed her teeth and hair. We had several chats about this and that and silly questions were answered and I have been trying all day to remember what some of her destinations and professions were for “This little piggy…”, because they were clever!

I had to blow a kiss goodbye to Chiara because she was in bed and insulated with baby on her left and a crib and cat on her legs.   Last night was a rough night for Mommy, Fletcher did not want to go to sleep!  It might have been the birthday cake!  

I left Tia in charge and headed off to the airport with Tom and the girls.  Good thing I packed last night!  We made it to the airport in good time;  Tom had checked me in last night.  I mentioned that maybe I would check my bag  outside but Tom quickly dissuaded me with the tale of Chiara’s missing sunglasses.  When we got to the airport, I noticed Tom was heading towards Terminal A to drop me off – No, he was going to premium parking and he and the girls were going to walk in with me.  Everybody out and we are in a part of the airport, I’ve never seen.  We’re headed up the escalator to the concourse level and Tom asks me if I just have these two bags? Two bags? NOOoooo, I have 3 bags, where’s my computer? In the car….YIKES!  Tom says, “no worry, I’ll get it”.  He directs me to turn left at the top of stairs and head to what I think is going to be the Jet Blue counter.   

I have a suitcase, handbag and two little girls in tow and walking and walking and walking.  Francesca is distracted by the gift shop that is selling Minnie Mouse dolls and the fountain with the Lion’s head spouting water.  I am wondering why I’m passing restaurants and stores in an area where the check-in counters are?  The answer is you are NOT in the area where the check-in counter are, you are now at security.  I only have to wait a few minutes before Tom shows up with my computer bag.  I tell him that we’re at security and I wanted to check my bag in.  He says, “Why, you can take this one onboard”.  “I can’t because then I have 3 bags and I can only get with two”.  Tom: “They won’t care”.  Lori: “Yes they will, they are very strict about this”.  So Tom says: “Well put one of those bags into the suitcase”.  So typical of a man, just solve the immediate problem.  I’m concerned my glasses will be crushed as he jams my handbag into the suitcase.  It’s getting hot in the airport or I’m getting stressed and sweating.  I think it was the latter.  

I wend my way through the zig zag maze of stanchions and black tape up to the first checkpoint, dropping my scarf along the way (thank you sir).   As soon as I get to the counter I realize I don’t have my photo ID.  It is in the g__d purse which is in the suitcase.  Flushed with stupid embarrassment, I tell the Officer that I forgot it’s in my handbag in my suitcase.  I plop the suitcase down on the floor and fumble with which end the zipper pull is at since it is one of those which open at either end!  The lady behind was NOT happy.  The gods must have been smiling down on me because I was able to unzip, reach into the handbag and actually put my hand on the case with my license. Check!  Next, off with the shoes, put the computer in one bin, the case in another with my scarf, and shove the suitcase up onto the conveyer belt.  I have to tell you I DO NOT LIKE putting the computer through the scanner and then finding out there is only ONE line going through the body scanner.  I am straining to lean over and keep an eye my stuff, “Please raise your arms over your head”!  I step out and am about to go over to pick up my computer when one of the TSA people say, “Excuse I have to pat down your shoulders, please put your arms straight out”.  My shoulders? I don’t even had shoulder pads on!  

When you’re already stressed and sweating you can rest assured that the Gate you’re supposed to go will be the farthest one   away, the last one in the concourse and of course mine was!  Did you know that the Starbucks in the West Palm airport does not carry those very important green picks?  The ones that protect your hand from being burned by hot coffee as it bounces out thru the sip top while you are walking the mile and half to your gate?  Yes it’s true.

Aha there was an upside to this long walk.  I figured out way to get my suitcase checked in.  The seating area was filled and there was no one at the Jet Blue counter BUT there was a man at the entrance of the jetway and I marched right up to him and threw my son-in-law under the bus – Sorry Tom I had to do it.  I told the man that my son-in-law thought we were late so he got us to the concourse instead of check in to save time but I really didn’t want to carry on this suitcase, can you help me (big smile)?  Of course he could and probably would have done so even without my fabrication.  Again, sorry Tom!  

Finally at the door to the plane and what do I see but this very tall man dressed in a ground personnel uniform standing there with my suitcase.  I ask him if that bag is going to be checked and he asks me if it is my bag? I say yes and he tells me I can take it onboard if I wish – NO I do not wish!  THEN he asks me what I have in the cup and immediately I wonder if one is not allowed to bring coffee onboard.  I look a little startled and say: “Coffee” – he smiles and says: “You could have gotten Dunkin’ Donuts coffee onboard and for free”. Music to your ears, Tom?

Dunkin Donuts logo

Dunkin Donuts logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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SUNDAY – This could be one of the grossest things I have ever written about but I am going to try to keep my PG rating!  Actually I probably don’t have to get too graphic because I’m pretty sure most of my readers will get the story line real quick.

It’s sunny Sunday morning and the family is going out for breakfast!  I mean what could be more fun than sitting in a public restaurant with two kids under the age of  5 ?  And while you are still waiting for your Eggs Benedict, they have already eaten their scrambled eggs with cheese and now want to get up from the table and although permission denied, they do…  I thought about that familial scenario and  then thought better of it after all. “See y’all later”.

About 2 hours later, I received a phone call from Chiara and she told me there was an art show in town that she and Tom were going to and did I want to come along?  It is sunny and not too hot so sounds like a plan to me. As soon as we debark from the vehicle and take a few steps towards the art exhibits, Chiara notices that there’s a playground and I held my breath – surely they didn’t come back and pick me up so I could watch the kids at the playground while they walked  around the Art Show! NO, of course not, had you going there for a minute, huh?

Tom took the girls to the playground and Chiara and I moved through the tents of rather uninspiring paintings and mediocre pottery.  There were shockingly bright acrylic flowers, pastel beach with palm trees and flamingoes, dark abstracts done in oils, and some jewelry.  Out of nowhere this woman jumps in front of us and screams, “I LOVE that bag!  Where did you get it”?  Chiara was carrying NOT one of her designer bags but rather a gold-studded handbag, hobo style.  This exchange brought us into her jewelry booth.  Very unusual pieces;  I liked two of the original-design bracelets and Chiara was taken with some stacking rings.

And then the text came dinging in….She pooped!!  Everybody poops or so the book says.  There are so many books out now for toddlers all about pooping and peeing and the potty.  Whatever happened to The Saggy Baggy Puppy?  Anyway, Frankie has a habit of NOT pooping for days on end.  This time she was out to set a record fighting against all odds to hold onto her poop.  Chiara has been pumping her full of Miralax everyday and yet Frankie prevailed.  That was, until today.  Chiara raced out of the booth with me on her heels.  There stood Frankie with a big smile on her face and greeted us with “I poop”.  GREAT, WONDERFUL BUT no diaper, no wipes, no public bathroom.  What’s a mom to do? What all mothers do, she pulled down the pamper, wiped her with as many tissues as I had and when it was apparent that we could not put this child in the car (yet), Chiara walked over to the boardwalk, cupped her hand in the water and splashed Frankie’s tooshie with some water.  Not exactly the circumstances one would hope for in this situation but you do what you gotta do.

Everyone Poops

Everyone Poops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Frankie was happy, Mommy would be happy when she could wash her hands and so with the windows open we drove home.

The End

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Sunday – But I asked for a late checkout till 1pm so I could be at the house and the last big push was on to get the girls rooms done.  Finley and Francesca were still at The Breakers (ordering up room service no doubt) with Martini (yes that is her name) , one of the hotel’s Nannies.  Moving is upsetting to everyone and Chiara wanted them to come to their new house and be able to see their rooms all set up.  I think I was still working on the kitchen trying to figure out what dishes to put in what cabinet.  I have this organization thing about kitchens and I’m trying to lay it out the way I probably learned in Home Economics class lol.  

This IS a Martha Stewart closet!

This IS a Martha Stewart closet!

Tom was setting up his office and playing music way too loud! So loud that we had to scream his name to turn it down a couple of times because we couldn’t communicate at all on the second floor.  At this point I decided to re-do the linen closet.  This is where OCD comes into play and usually someone benefits.  On Saturday Tom hired his assistant from work and her daughter to help us unpack boxes and put stuff away.  At one point in the afternoon I  saw both the mother and daughter sitting on the floor folding sheets and towels and putting them in the linen closet.  I looked at the closet on Sunday morning and knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep IF I didn’t re-fold the towels and sheets and blankets.  Luckily for me (and for her), Chiara agreed that the closet didn’t look good. Tom came by and saw me pulling stuff out and refolding and remarked that the daughter had done the closet and then the mother said it was wrong and they re-did it. NOW I was doing it again-so many man hours, it’s a good thing this isn’t a Union job!  Martha, on the other hand would be perfectly pleased as the closet was now a work of art if I do say so myself!

And speaking of communication…Tom took me back to my hotel to get the cat and check out.  On the way he wondered out loud if Chiara had packed the champagne they had gotten as a gift at the Policeman’s Ball. I  texted her and the instant reply was “Shit no you better call The Breakers right away”.  Not having  both feet firmly planted in the 21st Century nor having the money to spend on one, I don’t have an iPhone but at least I had my Droid and internet access.  So I look up The Breakers on Google or rather I try to look it up. Have you ever tried to see your screen in the bright Florida sunshine?  I swear I scrolled all over what came up on mobile and THERE WAS NO CONTACT US link to be found.  OK so I called the reservation desk and spoke to someone who after I explained the situation, said she would connect me to the front desk. FIVE full minutes later I hung up the phone and spent another five squinting and twisting myself every which way in the seat to find a spot where I actually could see the screen.  I called another number also connected to a site proclaiming, of course, reservations.  After I went through my spiel that the Clarks had checked out but had forgotten a very expensive bottle of champagne in the room, I was informed I would need to call the actual hotel they were just for reservations and were off-site. Geez!

On the phone again to the original reservation clerk, I tell her that she left me on hold so I hung up.  She explained she was trying to get someone at the front desk. Rachel (her name) said the room had been cleaned and no one reported finding anything.  I told her someone had to have seen the bottle there.  She then mentions things  left behind like a bottle could be considered trash by the cleaning staff.  I’m hot, tired and sitting in a car in the sunshine while my son-in-law buys some lunch so I very loudly say to Rachel, “NO ONE would see this bottle and throw it out!  If they don’t have it someone does”.  Ok, ok, she is going to get a hold of the front desk.  Tom returns and since this is his thingI give him my phone, put on speaker and tell him what she has said so far. Apparently, the Clarks did not actually check out but since check out is 12 noon and the hotel has the card number, they WERE checked out. And we are being told that there was an open bottle of champagne but that was trashed”.  Well, this one was not opened and it cost $1000!  Visibly or rather audibly  Rachel is struggling to make some sense of something that is not her problem because she is just a reservation clerk but trying hard to help.  She comes back on the line and says, “Good News, they have the bottle and they are holding it at the security desk for you”. Ah great all is well……..

Fast forward to about 4pm and I tell Tom he better go get the girls because it will be dark soon and they have yet to see their new house and they have to eat and bathe because Finley starts school tomorrow at 8am!  Off he goes BUT he stops at Lowes first and I have no idea where it was or how far it was BUT both Clarks use their GPS to find their way to the Post Office, Starbucks or Sears Roebuck!  THEN he went to the hotel and called me to say that now he was being told that they did not have the bottle.  Ridiculous! Fortunately I remembered who we had spoken to-Rachel who of course by now was nowhere to be found.  It is 6:45pm and the girls are still at the hotel as is Tom but not the champagne. “COME HOME”! he is loudly directed by his wife.  For God’s sake those kids have to eat.  

EAT? There’s no food in the house, Chiara didn’t go to the grocery store because she wanted to be home when the girls arrived and take their pictures.  Delivery Dudes again!  Needless to say it was pitch black when they arrived, best laid plans blah blah blah,

Did I mention that we have been cleaning the house every day since Saturday?  Well the very expensive Dyson vacuum cleaner wasn’t working (didn’t she know that before she had it packed?), the Swifter box was rapidly depleting as I discarded one black cloth after another and then one black wet Swifter pad after another. Tom returned not with the champagne but with a new Dyson but by that time we were too exhausted to open the box!  We were all Blackfoot Indians and everyone knew they had to wash their feet before getting into bed or collapsing on the bed, whichever came first! 

Sweet dreams Finley, BIG day tomorrow at your new school.  What kind of nursery school starts at 8am and ends at 2:20pm?  The private kind, the uniform kind.  

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Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to You!

Could it really be forty-one years ago that I drove myself from my home in Avon CT to Hartford for a doctor’s appointment and then to St. Francis Hospital?  Apparently yes, because today is my son Joel’s birthday!  When my parents and grandparents would tell me how quickly the years go by  and at this point they’re flying, I, like every other young person ,didn’t really get it.  Well I get it now.  Joel is 41 and Chiara is 35 and now I’m a grandmother myself.

Last year I wrote what I thought was akin to a mother-son love letter so I’m not going to repeat it again. All of it is true and I hope he reads it again because it is full of love and appreciation for who he is.  Posted last December 17th, Happy Birthday Dear Son!

3000 miles and 3 hours earlier often gets in the way of communication although as any mother knows, if there’s a will, there’s a way.  This Christmas, like last year,  my daughter and her family are headed west to spend the holidays with Joel and we will be here on the East Coast. I think it would be wonderful if we could all be together, however, my feeling is that the kids like it the way it is.  I have a Norman Rockwell Christmas in mind and they are thinking along the lines of what I heard referred to as Westivus.  Apparently, some friends from Boston are also flying out to celebrate with them.

I hope today has been joyful for Joel.  I wrote a Happy Birthday greeting on his Facebook wall – aren’t I just the 21st Century Mom and called him this evening.  I hope to see him in the near future to give him the real hug I sent virtually.

So Happy happy birthday Joel, I love you very much and wish I could spend more time with you.

Love,

Mom

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Tribeca Film Festival design

Tribeca Film Festival design (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was my day and night at the movies!  I got an early birthday present from my friend, Barbara – she took me to see Una Noche, a movies entered into the Tribeca Film FestivalUna Noche was a really well-done small movie.  It won’t play in the big houses, it’s a small indie based upon a true story.  But this post isn’t about that film…

This evening we went to see The Five Year Engagement, a film generating way more buzz than it deserves.  It was actually the opening night movie for the Tribeca Film Festival! God, what does that tell us?  Have film festivals sold themselves out to the big-monied studios who  see regional film festivals as yet another way to promote their flicks ? I guess bus stop shelters, the sides of a city bus and posters in the subway stations are just not enough!

The Five Year Engagement has some very good actors and some fairly mediocre and as in the case of many a tennis match. the lesser players pulls down the game of the better.  Emily Blunt is good, David Paymer was perfect for the role of Tom’s father and I particularly liked Lauren Weedman in the very minor role of Chef Sally. 

The story is not unfamiliar to us; boy meets girl, they  instantly fall in love and a year later decide to marry.  But from the onset everything about the engagement is awkward.  The extended on again and off again engagement took 5 years, the movie was 124 minutes.  They should have gotten married right after the first year and the movie should have been 86 minutes. By the way, 86 minutes is my new code word for the appropriate length of a movie or show that is going on too long.   There was a whole big middle in this one that could have been cut out. 

It was supposed to be a romantic comedy and yes I did laugh out loud at several lines but I didn’t think it was very romantic.  This movie is typical of what is being produced today, too long, too trite, too many mini bytes and a think story line at best.

When we got home and turned on the television, The Way We Were, was playing.  Now there’s a romantic movie.  First of all, it had Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand and Bradford Dillman.  And the story had depth, interest, several characters all acting like real people rather than caricatures of of themselves.  I mean a knitted tuxedo, deer hoof mugs and home-made honey mead (The Five Year Engagement)?   Really now!!!

If you want to see a romantic movie with your significant other, I strongly suggest you stay home and rent The Way We Were.  It’s cheaper, better, shorter and you’ll be be able to reach for the tissues without bothering anyone else in the theater.

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“It’s better to give than receive” and if you believe in this theory and have taken it to heart, then you might be interested in this list of Christmas gifts that not only give pleasure and joy upon receipt, they also give back to a worthwhile cause.

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

    A jar of homemade goodness. This sweet mix is packed with all of the ingredients (flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips) for baking three dozen tasty treats. Williams-Sonoma will donate a portion of the proceeds to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign to end childhood hunger through December 31, 2011.

    To buy: $16, williams-sonoma.com.

  2. KLAPPAR ELEFANT    

    Soft, snuggly, and begging to be hugged. An adorable pick for the young–or young at heart–on your list. For every soft toy sold, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1 to UNICEF and Save the Children education programs through December 24, 2011.

    To buy: $15, ikea.com.

  3. Mercury Owls

    If you’re looking for a decorative piece with a little extra sparkle, these mercury glass owls are a wise choice. For every purchase, West Elm will donate 50 percent of proceeds to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Available in two sizes.

    To buy: Starting at $14, westelm.com.

  4. Kids’ Victorious Graphic Tee

    There won’t be any complaints about getting clothes when he unwraps this cool graphic tee, designed by Dallas Clayton, author and illustrator of the Awesome book series. Proceeds from the sales of the t–shirts go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We’d say that makes this gift pretty awesome.

    To buy: $25, jcrew.com.

  5. TOM’s Campus Classics

    Cool enough to wear around campus; comfortable enough to make your weekend shoes. For every pair of kicks purchased, TOM’s sends another to a child in need. Available in 26 styles.

    To buy: $48, toms.com.

  6. Kiehl’s Crème de Corps

    Even winter skin needs extra TLC. Tuck this rich hydrating cream into stockings and feel even better knowing that Kiehl’s will donate 100% of the net proceeds from this collection to the Koons Family Institute on International Law and Policy.

    To buy: $29 for 8.4 oz bottle, kiehls.com.

    Uniceff, IKEA, Save the Children

    KLAPPAR Elephant

    St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, West Elm

    Mercury Owls

    Tom's shoes

    To A Child In Need

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As you who have been reading faithfully know, my daughter Chiara, (apple of my eye and direct fall from the tree) threw NOT ONE BUT TWO fabulous parties in ONE day and night.  She outdid herself and of course along the way exhausted herself.  The previous blogs talk about the extensive planning, listing, ordering, directing, setting up, picking up, and overall GC . In case you’re wondering what a GC is, that’s the person in charge of the whole development project.  She’s the one who imagines, plans, orders, directs and sub-contracts EVERYTHING.   I give you this prologue because amongst the party-giving, entertaining and cooking women I know, we all have the same complaint:  Our husbands are guests at their own parties!!

My husband, Peter is not only a guest at our parties, he’s practically a guest in our home as well.  Brought up as the first-born in dare I say a Jewish family although it is exactly the same for those first-born males in an Italian family (believe I know!), Peter sees every task in the household as someone else’s,  not sure who he thinks the someone else is….   Well apparently Tom, Chiara’s husband falls into the same category.  What happened on P-Day (Saturday) pretty much exemplifies what I’m saying;  Chiara is up with the baby early and trying to get out to get a last-minute manicure BEFORE more of the delivery people show up with ice, cakes, cupcakes, balloons and MORE… Tom, on the other hand says,”Can’t your Mom (that’s Gigi/me) watch Finley so I can go out for a run”?  I’m not going to retell the rest of what verbally transpired because I’m trying to keep my PG rating and it was tough enough to do so given the Latex,Leather and Lace blog!  Well you get the picture and I’m sure many of you have similar tales (and by the way, you can send them to me to be printed here)!!  This article appeared in the New York Times in 1996 – I cut it out then because, well you know why and since that was over 14 years ago, things haven’t really changed much.  Enjoy!

When a Husband Is a Guest At His Own Dinner Party

By LINDA MATHEWS
Published: April 3, 1996

I HAVE always admired those masterly men who know how to be the host of a dinner party. They stock the bar, fix the drinks, pass the hors d’oeuvres, advise their wives on the entree, perhaps even drift into the kitchen to casually assemble a trademark salad or to flambe a dessert.

My husband, Jay, isn’t anything like that.

He has come a long way since the night, early in our courtship, when he cooked dinner for me by spearing two frankfurters with a fork and singeing them over an open gas flame in his sublet kitchen. Now, he can make pancakes and birthday cakes and a few family specialties.

But when we have guests, Jay’s specialty is acting like a guest at his own party. He exclaims over the hors d’oeuvres, because he had nothing to do with their preparation and hasn’t seen them before. Ditto for the main course. He is usually so deep in conversation that I commandeer a male guest to open and pour the wine. Jay keeps his end of the table enthralled during dinner so that I feel guilty about interrupting him to ask for help in clearing the table and so do it myself. By the end of the party, after we have said good night to our guests, I’m exhausted and Jay is still sparkling.

“I had a great time,” he declares with genuine satisfaction. “Why don’t we give more parties?”

Even at moments like that, I am more amused than angry. He’s not really a shirker, I tell myself. This tendency to be a guest at his own parties is a minor flaw, like his inexplicable cravings for cherry Jello or his passion for “Star Trek” and other science fiction.

For a long time, I thought I had the only husband who was a guest at his own parties. Then a couple of years ago, an older couple invited us to a summer party on the patio, a farewell for a mutual friend to be transferred overseas. The nominal host sat on his hands for four hours, regaling guests with his own experiences abroad, most of them either instructive or amusing, while his wife kept the party going. She prepared the coals, scurried back and forth to the kitchen to freshen drinks, grilled the butterflied leg of lamb and fetched the ratatouille.

A telling moment came, I thought, as the salad course appeared and the host discovered there was something crucial missing.

“Dear, you forgot the dressing,” he called to his wife, who somewhat sullenly returned to the kitchen.

By dessert, she was steaming. The other women and I were taking turns helping her clear each course, and as I walked into the kitchen with a tray full of coffee cups, she was loading the dishwasher for the second time. And she was muttering curses I hadn’t heard since I worked in a print shop.

A month later, we heard that our host and hostess had separated, and that she was filing for divorce. I asked my husband, “Do you suppose being a guest at your own parties is grounds for divorce?”

“That’s not funny,” Jay said.

It’s not that serious for us, not yet anyway. Maybe that’s because we can sometimes afford to invite guests to restaurants, maybe because our daughter Kate loves parties and willingly lends a hand, maybe because, after almost 29 years of marriage, I have learned to accept Jay as he is, a nice guy who will never tend bar or assemble hors d’oeuvres.

I no longer consult him on party menus. His suggestions are — how shall I say this? — predictable. As I pore over cookbooks, looking for an alternative to the spinach soup and chicken marbella I have prepared at least a hundred times, he always says to me: “Why don’t we just have your lasagna? Everybody loves your lasagna.” I do make lasagna for the kids, but I haven’t fixed it for guests since graduate school, when we often invited 50 people to our one-bedroom apartment and never kept track of how many showed up.

And I don’t discuss dessert with him, either. “You can’t beat really good vanilla ice cream,” he says. “Doll it up with berries or sauce if you have to.” I maintain my Zen-like silence.

Of course, I don’t want him to feel left out entirely. So, at our last party, where as usual I cooked, set the table and cleared every course for 10 adults and four children, I made it clear that I wanted him to clean up.

Two guests, both old friends of mine, stayed and chatted with me as I propped my feet on a chair and leisurely ate a leftover dessert.Meanwhile, Jay stacked plates in the dishwasher, tackled a mountain of dirty pots and pans and emptied ashtrays. He washed the silver by hand. He spotcleaned the tablecloth with Spray ‘n’ Wash. By 1:30 A.M., when the last guests finally headed for the door, Jay looked uncharacteristically cranky.

“I had a great time!” I exclaimed. “Why don’t we give more parties?

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