But It’s a Really Good Book

76.4% of my life presented in one brief scene:

8:40 pm, couch.

Brain Part 1: I’m going to head to bed early and read a book.

Brain Part 2: First I have to clean the kitchen.

1: It’s a really good book.

2: I can’t leave the kitchen like this.

1: Seriously, this book is awesome.

2: I’ll be miserable if the kitchen looks like this when I wake up in the morning.

1: I’ll be miserable now if I don’t go to bed and read this book.

2: What would my mom say if she saw me walking away from this horrible kitchen?

1: Writers have to read books. Going to bed and reading is basically work.

[Argument continues for approximately the amount of time it would have taken to clean the kitchen.]

1: Whatever. I’m going to bed to finish the book.

6:30 am, kitchen.

1: I’m miserable.

2: And I finished that awesome book already.

Adulting

“Adulting” isn’t a verb but it should be. Sometimes I look around my life and wonder, who the hell had the idea that I was qualified for all this?

“Adulting” isn’t a verb but it should be. To adult is some elusive combination of things like always having clean underwear in the drawer, never ramming a cart when people leave one the middle of the aisle while they compare prices at the grocery, remembering the Netflix password, and eating something that’s not cookies for breakfast.

Last week, I renewed my domain name, and I was all puffed up with pride because I was renewing nopointsforstyle.com 11 days before it was due to expire. Eleven days! Look at me adulting! I even renewed for two years because adults consider the future. Adults plan ahead.

Except I renewed my domain name last February for 3 years, which means I now own nopointsforstyle.com until February 15, 2019, a date so far away it seems pretend, for a domain that directs to a blog so neglected that if you’re actually here reading, I’d like to give you a token of appreciation. Maybe if I see you in the grocery and your cart is in the middle of the aisle while you studiously compare light red kidney beans to dark red kidney beans, I’ll give you a pass.

Maybe. Pull your carts to the side, people. Civilization may depend on it.

Sometimes I look around my life and wonder, who the hell had the idea that I was qualified for all this? I mean, clean underwear and taxes and a car? This is ridiculous. I still feel like this girl:

My mom was more responsible at 16 than I am at 40 mumble something cough, yet somehow I have as much adulting to do as anyone. Insurance, for crying out loud. Furnace filters, dental care, and making sure my kids are never the ones on Twitter asking who the hell this Paul McCartney guy is.

True story: in the late 1970s, my mother-in-law was in a record store and she heard a girl say to her mother, “Hey, look at this! Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?”

For the record, I manage the clean underwear issue by owning approximately 40 pair and I doubt my kids could name all the Beatles but they for damn sure know who Eric Clapton is. My eldest son gave me an Allman Brothers CD for my birthday a few years ago and raved to me about how I was sure to love this new band he’d discovered, which is a win for good music but a lose for me personally because how did I never share my love for Gregg Allman with that kid?

I have a broader and much more important statement to make about civil discourse and how we need more adults in all our conversations because I’m damn tired. I’m not tired of the heated conversations or even the arguments. I have learned things in recent weeks about race, culture, disability, sexual identity, and privilege (plus more) that no college professor could teach me, in spite of the hyper-aware education in sociology delivered mostly by earnest professors who worked damn hard to teach those things. No, I’m not tired of those conversations, painful as it has been to be called out a few times. I’m tired of watching those excellent conversations spin out in outrageous directions that do nothing but prove Mike Godwin right and leave the internet littered with so many straw men sacrificed for the cause.

Unfortunately, I can’t make that broader statement now because I lost the gas shut-off key for the fireplace. Adulting requires me to remain ever-vigilant about fire and locate then buy a new key immediately. I have letters to write to my elected representatives because adulting means civic responsibility, and then there are emails to send to the worship team at church because to adult is to be of service.

Speaking of civic responsibility, have you donated blood recently? I should put that on my schedule for next week after I check to make sure my 45 days is up.

After I find and order that gas key, I have to put the underpants in the dryer so Carter and I can get dressed before I take him to school. Adulting doesn’t mean I don’t do things at the last minute, or even that I do them all that well. There are still no points for style, at least until February, 2019.

 

One Sack of Hammers, Hold the Water

How is a sack of wet hammers any stupider than a sack of dry ones?

Brian: That guy is as dumb as a sack of wet hammers.

Me: How is a sack of wet hammers any stupider than a sack of dry ones?

Brian: The wet ones didn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain.

Moral of the story: Marry a Southern boy. They say awesomely weird stuff, and often.

Pediatric Mental Illness on Parade

My friend Olive and her little girl came to visit us. (Her name is not really Olive, but her anonymous-for-the-web name for her daughter is Pickles, so I’m going with a whole relish-tray theme.)

This was kind of a big deal for me because I’ve always sworn I would never meet any of my online friends in real life. No way. I enjoy my online life and I was afraid that, if I met my virtual friends, we might hate each other. It seemed too risky.

But I’m also kind of a sucker, and Olive pretty much twisted my arm (not really), so here she came, Pickles in tow.

Pickles is a little younger than Carter, but they have a great deal in common. They both love dogs and they both have psychosis, for instance. They both enjoy cartoons and both can go from happy to raging (or terrified, or despondent) without warning.

Just two little kids but more, which is why Olive and I met each other online in the first place. In spite of what the media says, the community of parents whose children have serious mental illness is really quite small.

But the kids did great, for the most part. Carter was fascinated by Pickles’s medicine and eager to compare it to his own. It was all so new to him, this opportunity to be around another child whose experience of the world was similar to his. Every time he was alone with me, he talked as fast as he could, dissecting Pickles, telling me all the ways they are similar and all the ways they are different. He’s a surprisingly introspective person when he’s not screaming at people to stop looking at him.

The third day Olive and Pickles were here, I had to pick up Brian from work and everyone wanted to come along with me, so Carter and Pickles piled into the back seat and Spencer rode shotgun. Halfway to our destination, I heard Pickles say, “I don’t want to talk about that!” She was looking out the side window, away from Carter.

Carter launched into a long, impassioned explanation about how he didn’t mean to upset her, but if she would just listen he could make her understand because what he’s saying is very important and if she would just uncover her ears and listen to him he could make it all OK!

As he does. You know how some people see a problem and immediately start throwing money at it? Carter thinks that there is no problem too large to be solved if you just drown it in words.

Pickles refused to uncover her ears or turn and look at Carter, so he redoubled his efforts, increased his volume, and tried to pull one of Pickles’s hands away from her ear. “But I was just trying to tell you…”

She clamped her hands back over her ears, turned to face Carter with her face screwed up tight with fury and said, “I have to take some space and this is my only way to take some space. You have to let me take some space!”

Carter, his own face now growing stormy, responded, “I am not in your bubble!”

And they went, lobbing therapy-speak back and forth across the back seat at each other, trying to find the magic words learned from some doctor or counselor or behavior management specialist that would solve the problem. “You should use your skills to calm down!” “I already used my skills! You use your skills!” “I can’t because you won’t let me take some space!” “I would let you take some space if you would use your skills!”

Finally, Pickles turned back to the window, hands clamped tight over her ears, humming loudly. I could see Carter in the rearview mirror and I could see that he was approaching nuclear meltdown. Face bright red, jaw clenched, he hissed “I am so angry right now!”

Meanwhile, I was in the front seat doing my best drone imitation, speaking in a near monotone, “Everyone is OK. Let’s all take a deep breath. Carter, you look out your window. Pickles, you look the other way, out your own window.”

They weren’t listening to me, which is not surprising since neither of them was listening to anything except the pounding of their own anger.

Finally, we arrived at Brian’s office, and Spencer got in the backseat between Pickles and Carter. “You look out that window,” he said to Pickles, “and you look out that one,” he said to Carter.

And they did.

And all was quiet on the way home.

If you hear me refer to that dark-haired 14-year-old boy who lives in my house as Saint Spencer, you’ll never wonder why.

 

Follow That Rabbit

I wrote part five of The Transcendent Familiar (No idea what I’m talking about? Here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4). Really, I did. As it turns out, though, what I thought was part 5 is actually part 6 (I think, though who knows? Maybe it’s part 7, or 12, or 34.).

I think that, if I was writing a book, it would go just like this, with the back-and-forthing, the rearranging, the jumping-in-and-out of memories, the expanding-and-contracting timeline. The weird/wonderful thing about blogging is that the process is on display as much as the story and you get the story as I go along, instead of after everything has been all cleaned up and neatly arranged.

Or maybe not. I don’t know about writing books. I haven’t written a book since I was ten and my friend Sarah and I wrote the definitive sourcebook on endangered species.

In any case, I wrote a story about something that happened when Jacob was a year old, but then I realized I had to tell a story about something that happened when Jacob was a newborn first. I wrote it, and I’ll post it soon, but I’m treading deep into the land of Other People’s Stories, so it seems wise to go slow and let the words settle a bit before I release them into the world.

Also, I’m fascinated by memory and can’t stop turning it over and around, playing with it and following the rabbit into all his strange little holes. Over the weekend, while I was writing stories from 1993 and 1994, I was overwhelmed with a desire to listen to Fleetwood Mac, like a food craving. I dug through stacks and stacks of CDs (Almost all Brian’s; he is possessed by a need to own every sound ever recorded by The Grateful Dead or any portion thereof.) until I found a “best of” Fleetwood Mac album and loaded it onto my computer.

I haven’t listened to Fleetwood Mac beyond the occasional song that’s come on the car radio in over a decade, but in the early 1990s, they were a musical staple. The memories of that time rang a Fleetwood Mac chime in my brain and I was compelled to respond. Thankfully, Little Lies is as awesome as ever.

In other news, we’re moving! Not just moving, but moving into the The Ugliest House in Albuquerque.

I’ll forgive you for assuming that I’m speaking hyperbolically because I so often do, but this time? Not a chance. Now, I haven’t seen all the houses in Albuquerque, so I can’t be positive that ours is the absolutely, positively, for sure ugliest, but it’s easily the ugliest one I’ve ever seen so we’re going with The Ugliest House in Albuquerque as the title of the new estate.

Behold, the kitchen:

Did I tell you? Oh, and before you ask me WHY in the world we would want such an ugly house, it’s because the location and the floor plan are perfect. What are orange countertops compared to having all the walls in the right places?

Oh, my friends, we are going to have some fun. You know how Brian and I are somewhat directionally challenged? You ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen us get our DIY on. The Ugliest House in Albuquerque has no idea what’s coming.

Let me sum up.

I’m trying to find new therapists – a clinical psychologist for myself and a family therapist for Jacob, Abbie, and me to see together. I hate making the calls.

The calls to find a family therapist are easy enough. Teenagers and difficult relationships go together like Rep. John Boehner and public weeping so I don’t usually have to offer much by way of explanation. “We’re having some communication issues and need help with that,” usually does the trick.

Making calls to find a therapist for me, though, is a whole different kettle of fish. Clinical psychologist’s receptionist answers the phone, “Hello, Dr. So-and-so’s office. How may I help you?”

“Hi, I’d like to make an appointment. I’ve never seen Dr. So-and-so before.”

“Alright. And what can Dr. So-and-so help you with?”

“I have some personal and family problems. Also some mental health issues.”

“Ma’am, I need more information so Dr. So-and-so can decide if she is the right provider for you.”

“Alright, well, I have a long, dark history of depression including one suicide attempt and multiple hospitalizations and I hardly got off my couch all last fall and early winter plus I have acute anxiety and I have had trichotillomania for over 30 years plus my youngest son is seriously mentally ill and my two teenaged children moved away and I’m devastated by their absence and stuck in my regret and shame over the ways I have screwed up the raising of them and full of fear that they don’t have adequate supervision at their dad’s house plus I’m worried that they’ll never forgive me which keeps me awake at night and I’m also afraid that their anger at me is really hurting them bad and also I have ADHD but only the inattentive type so that’s no big deal except that it’s ruining my life and my grandma is dying in slow motion and my guilt about not spending more time with her is chewing away at my internal organs and my relationships with my parents and my sister are really complicated and difficult so we don’t talk much and I don’t have very many friends because I had two who tried to take over my life and I hated that so I dumped them because I don’t want to talk to anyone several times a day except my husband and I had to quit my job to care for my youngest son so we’re always broke which is not so good for the anxiety plus I have this problem with eating too much to deal with my feelings which will be kind of obvious if you ever meet me and I can’t sleep at night and most of the time, I hate everyone so I don’t leave the house much and only talk to people on the computer because that means I can push a button and make them go away instead of like in real life where I have to stab people in their legs with my specially designed leg-stabbing-pickle fork to get them to leave me alone but the only person I really hate is me and I know I should stop but I can’t so I need some help and by the way, to you take Blue Cross?”

Which is not, of course, what I actually say, but really, my life and its issues are not especially easy to sum up. Plus, some of the receptionists seem to think that everyone who calls them should know exactly the information they need, which might be true except that every mental health care provider thinks that different things are important.

Starting every encounter with a potential mental health care provider by being shamed for not knowing the right way to answer the questions? Not entirely productive.

The right therapists are out there. I just wish the finding part was a little easier.

The 2011 Award for Best Use of Peer Pressure for the Good of Humanity and Its Limited Supply of Brain Cells Goes To Jacob (plus some other stuff)

Jacob found out that his friend Hector* had been smoking pot with some of his other friends.

Jacob’s response went something like, “Dude, that’s stupid. I’m not hanging out with you if you’re smoking.”

A few days later, Hector called Jacob and said, “Hey dude, let’s hang out!”

Jacob answered, “Dude, no way. I told you, man. I’m not hanging out with you if you’re smoking.”

(I didn’t hear any of these conversations myself, but I’ve spent enough time around these two boys to know that they sprinkle everything, and liberally, with the word dude.)

(One time, Jacob called me dude. Just the once.)

Hector quit smoking because a) he and Jacob are buddies and b) they like to write songs together and perform them, which it seems was a worthy trade-off for the aforementioned dope.

Who says peer pressure is always a bad thing?

*Jacob gave me permission to tell this story. Hector is a made up name. The actual friend in question has a way cooler name than Hector.

Unimpeachable mother that I am, I took Abbie out and signed the forms granting permission for her to have a hole poked in her face. She looks beautiful. Of course, she always looks beautiful, but the tiny blue sparkle is a nice touch.

We took this picture in the grocery right after she had it done. Rest assured we did not, in fact, have the piercing done in a grocery store.

And then, there was this:

Jacob—17 Spencer—13 Abbie—15 Carter—8 1/2

Not the greatest picture, I know. The sun was setting behind them and I am nowhere near a good enough photographer to know how to, I don’t know, fix the light? Or something. Plus, it was freezing and Carter was crabby (Look at that scowl!) so I had to hurry.

(If you’re new here, you should know that Jacob and Abbie live with their dad and I don’t see them nearly as often as I want.)

In any case, the picture is good enough that you can count the children, and they are all there. We spent the whole afternoon and evening together.

Awesome.

Sensational.

Wondrous.

Butt Holes and Baby Bunnies

At dinner, I asked Brian what I should write about tonight.

This is a pathetic gesture which usually means that all the blog post ideas in my little idea file seem too cerebral and my brain is tired.

Asking for ideas is a pathetic gesture because, of the several dozen times I have asked this question of him, Brian has only once actually had a good idea.* Yeah, as a brainstorming technique, it pretty much blows.

“I dunno,” says my beloved.

Sigh. “Useless! What good are you if you won’t give me an idea now and again?”

“Fine. Just write about what it’s like to be so mean and hateful. You know lots about that. Oh, and being a dog stealer. Give me my dog, you dog thief!”

For the record, I never have to steal his dog. She likes me better, is all.

“I’m not mean or hateful and nobody cares where Doodle is sitting. What else ya’ got?”

Carter, not to be outdone in this spectacular battle of dimwits, said, “You should write about your butt hole and how it can poop and fart!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “Nothing comes out of my butt hole except rainbows and glitter and fluffy baby bunny rabbits!”

“If you post some video of that, it’s guaranteed to go viral, babe. Let me know if you want me to hold the camera for you.”

My husband is so helpful.

At which point I had to remind him that my readers have had more than enough talk of butt holes, plus there was the time he showed his to the neighbors. I’d hate for us to become known as that family with all the butt hole problems, so I’m thinking I’ll skip the video of tiny bunnies emerging from my butt.

You’re welcome.

Spencer, having begun his career as a contemptuous teenager six short months ago, was sitting in the beanbag, one eyebrow raised and occasionally shaking his head at his slaphappy family. Desperate, I pulled him into the fray.

“Spencer, come on! You have to have an idea!”

“Write about Lolly,” says the boy who has the dog named Lolly under his left arm. It seems to me that the motto for most teenagers is this: No wasted brainpower.

“I can’t write about the dog! It’s not the kind of blog! I tell stories and I write about issues. I need a story or an issue!”

“Fine,” said Spencer, “tell a story about how awesome I am. You can use one of my drawings for evidence.”

Sigh.

This IS pretty awesome. I'll show you more next time I'm stuck for an idea.

*If you haven’t read the story of our trip to southern New Mexico, you should go do that now. Even if it doesn’t make you laugh, you will get an opportunity to feel superior to me, and feeling superior is always kind of fun, right?

Sloppy Firsts

His name was Jack, and I shared my first kiss with him.

Except shared isn’t quite the right word. I was fourteen years old and desperate for a real kissing experience. I hated to be the only one among my friends who had not yet been awkwardly groped in a dark room by a pimple-faced, greasy boy.

We were at a dance, me and a hundred or so of my closest friends, and when Jack led me toward a small room off to the side of the party room, I followed willingly. He stood with his feet about three feet apart to minimize our height difference, opened his mouth wide, and started some kind of spitting-and-sucking routine that didn’t seem anything like kissing as I had imagined it.

In the ensuing months, Jack made out with most of my girlfriends and eventually, we started calling him The RVC, short for the Rainbow Vacuum Cleaner. Do you remember the 1980s ads for those carpet cleaners? The went into great detail about how the machine shot water into the carpet, then sucked it all back up. Kissing Jack was sort of like presenting the lower half of your face to a Rainbow Vacuum Cleaner and letting it have its way with you.

For several years, I thought that was my first real kiss, until I had my first real real kiss, the kind that makes you go all watery on the inside. That kiss happened in the soup aisle at a grocery store, which just goes to show you what an extremely romantic person I am.

The soup-aisle-kissing relationship was long and melodramatic and chaotic, as relationships that get their start in grocery stores are wont to be. It ended when I was 26 and I’d been in relationships my entire adult life, so I thought I’d try my hand at casual dating.

The first guy I went out with took me back to his mother’s house after dinner. He showed me his bedroom where all the model airplanes of his childhood were dangling from the ceiling. He tried to kiss me, but I dodged his face.

The next guy I went out with drove a truck so huge that I couldn’t get into it (and I’m not short), but he refused to pull up to the curb so I could get in. Instead, he got behind me and shoved on my ass until I went sprawling across the bench seat. Kissing him was lovely, in spite of the giant truck. That’s probably because I didn’t kiss the truck but instead kissed the man. Also because I convinced him to keep a little footstool in the back of the truck so we could avoid the ass-shoving-and-subsequent-sprawling episode the next time.

Why did I kiss a man who insisted on shoving me in the ass? I can only assume that I was a) very lonely or b) feeling very badly about myself. Probably both.

After a few unremarkable dates, there was the guy who took me to Harrigan’s. We were on our way to his car when a panhandler approached us and asked for some money and my date yelled at him. I was so horrified I gave the panhandler a five dollar bill, which caused my date to drive me home in silence and dump me off at the curb in front of my house. Nobody tried to kiss anyone that time.

Then I had the Macaroni Grill-athon. When I went out with a new guy, he would almost ask me where I lived. “Over near Winrock Mall,” I always said, and nine times out of ten he would say, “Oh, there’s a Macaroni Grill over there! How about we meet there at seven?” This was how I had three first dates at the same restaurant in one weekend – dinner Friday, lunch Saturday, and dinner Sunday.

I don’t even like Macaroni Grill.

The first man during the weekend of the Macaroni Grill-athon ordered his meal and, when it arrived, tucked a napkin into his shirt, hunched over, and shoveled his pasta into his mouth as if there were locusts hovering around him, waiting for their opportunity to steal his meal.

The second man that weekend showed up over an hour late because he was waiting in line for gas at the station that had the cheapest prices in the city that day. I was just leaving when he arrived and I stuck around to eat, mostly in the interests of a free meal.

I ended up dating the third man for several months mostly because he was about eleventy-trillion times smarter than my ex-husband, which was a refreshing change. Sadly, he was about as exciting as a bowl of vanilla ice cream (kissing included) and eventually I called it off.

I stopped dating then. Single life was beginning to seem very appealing, so I took a one-year dating hiatus.

Then, one night, I had a dream. I was chasing people around a shopping mall, asking them to hug me. No one would (seriously, would you?), and I ended up standing in front of Dillard’s screaming, “Won’t anybody touch me? Why won’t anyone touch me?!?”

Huh. That’s not good.

The next day, having run through all the hook-ups that my friends had to offer, I signed up for Match.com, but just the one week trial. I was too broke to pay for a real membership.

Little did I know that across town, Brian was signing up for a one week trial at Match.com, too, although he was not too broke to pay for the real membership; he was just too cheap.

We met at a local coffee shop called Double Rainbow** and I knew right away that we would be something. I didn’t know we’d get married, but I knew we’d have something special.

On our third date, he kissed me for the first time and my guts turned to jelly and my thoughts went to mush, but it was also as comfortable as coming home after a long vacation.

The best love affairs are like coming home, if home involves roller coasters and fireworks. First kisses can be awesome, but 1,000th kisses are great in a different way.

Also? I have never once thought of any kind of household cleaning tools while I was kissing Brian, so that’s a major plus.

I kissed my share of frogs, but I figure they were all worth it (yes, even the RVC) because I ended up with a pretty damn great prince. Even if he’s not very princely and is, in fact, just an ordinary man, he’s my home. I like him even better than roller coasters.

What are your most memorable first kiss experiences?

*His real name is neither Jack nor RVC.

**They changed the name to Flying Star years ago, but I can’t make it change in my mind.

Ooops…I forgot to title this. Herein you will find out why.

Right here at the beginning, I need to tell all those who read yesterday’s post how grateful I am for you. For those of you who commented, I tried to reply to individual comments and I couldn’t do it. It’s too close to my heart.

From right down in my guts, I thank you for seeing Carter, and for hearing me. It means more than I could have imagined it would.

This weekend, Brian and I put the kids to bed and set up our nest on the couch: coffee, popcorn, sweaters, slippers, a big blanket, and the remote control.

Brian and I are living the wild life, people.

We hit the button for OnDemand (How much do I love that we can watch movies without going to the video store anymore?) and found a movie. Some action and adventure movie, probably, since that’s one of the few places where Brian’s and my movie preferences intersect.

Ten minutes after we started the movie, Brian said, “This seems familiar.”

“Yeah, me, too. Did we see this?”

“I think so. Do you remember how it ends?”

“No idea.”

“Well, we might as well watch it if we can’t remember it,” Brian decided, and huddled back into his corner of the couch.

I’m turning 40 next month. I’m trying to look on the bright side like, for instance, the only alternative to getting older is dying young, so there’s that to be grateful for.

Also, unless it was very momentous, I can watch movies again later if I give myself enough time to forget them.

I used to remember everything. When I was in my twenties, it seemed I couldn’t forget anything, no matter how useless the information.

The delusion, suffered by some in Southeast Asia, wherein a man believes his external genitalia is shrinking and will soon disappear? That’s koro. I picked that up somewhere, probably a waiting room magazine, and it stuck there. Now, though, I devote two hours of my life to a movie and all significant memories of those two hours drip right out my ear and down the drain.

It’s a heck of a note, this getting older business. How do we all manage to believe that it will never happen to us?

Brian (who is much, much older than I am; truly, I am practically a child compared to him) or I stretch or groan or act in any way old, Carter will pipe up and say, “I’m sorry you’re getting old,” so that’s very comforting.

All in all, I wouldn’t change it. I wasn’t good at being young, but I’ve been practicing at middle age for going on fifteen years now.

Hell, we’re all advanced at something, right?

Which brings me to today. I’m so tired I feel like my face is going to slide right off the front of my head.

I slept four hours last night. Up until a few years ago, that was a fine amount of sleep, as long as I didn’t have more than two short nights in a row. Now, I’m rendered nearly non-functional, and no amount of coffee will remedy the situation.

Coffee is no substitute for sleep, but that doesn’t stop me from trying (repeatedly) to make it to do the job, kind of like trying to force a horde of hamsters* to pull a Volkswagen up a hill.

So me? I’m going to bed, because sleep is the only real solution for tiredness (I am all genius-y and profound today with my cause-effect observations). By the time you read this tomorrow (which will be today, but it is (was) tomorrow now, as I write this), I will, I hope, be well rested and thinking in a more sophisticated manner.

*That’s the real name for a group of hamsters. I done Googled it.