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The past two weeks have been so nice – it has almost felt like we’re a normal family again. Mama cooked Sunday dinner yesterday – chop steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, and broccoli, and we sat down for a meal together. It felt so NORMAL – even though it’s temporary, it was still really nice.

I actually think there’s a direct correlation between the feeling “normal” and writing in this journal… I just don’t feel compelled to write when I feel like the average 29-year-old with the average job and the average family. But tomorrow is Gemzar, so everything’s going to slide back into abnormalness.

She has a CT scan today to get ready for the Duke trip in two weeks. She really, really believes that it’s going to show great improvement – I want to believe it too based on the shrinkage of the bump on her head. But I’m just keeping myself in check – I’m mentally prepared for the worst as well. I need to call or email Dr. O’Rourke to let me know that he can’t give her a treatment next Tuesday – she has a 50th birthday party to go to… chemo’s just not an option.

I’ve really been kinda disappointed with the response from our guest list so far. It’s like these people don’t know that she’s seriously sick… they are so going to be sorry if this is the last b-day party she has. She giggled when she opened her party invitation – it’s been quite a hit so far. She is just exuding such joy in that picture – “beaming” is the word that she’s using to describe herself. So far only G-ma & G-pa B, Rachel, and G-ma W are coming for sure out of our entire family. I know that we planned it at the last minute, but it kinda sucks that people aren’t making more of an effort to rearrange their schedules – this isn’t just the average birthday party. But whatever. We’ll have fun anyway – she was telling me this past week that this is the first b-day party she’s had since she was 9. So it’s a big deal to her, and that’s what matters…

So Jennifer and I went south on Saturday for Merrill’s shower – arrived in Bowman about 11ish, saw her wedding dress, got lunch, and went to her and John’s little house. It’s really such a cute little place – it reminds me of Mama and Daddy’s house. Very cozy and homey… made me miss having my own house. And it’s out in the middle of a huge yard – how perfect would that be for kids… Jennifer and I both really had eye-opening experiences, especially Jennifer – realizing that a house doesn’t have to perfect right off to be the perfect home.

And we took Grandma W home from the shower that afternoon – she asked us it we would come in to “say hello to Copper” (the evil beast of a cat) and we ended up staying two hours. We enjoyed visiting with her so much – she laughed and Jennifer told her about a dream that she had the night before, and we told her about Susanna’s love life, and she told us that she’s thinking about going to live at Magnolia’s after she gets the house cleaned out. Jennifer suggested the Legacy, and she actually seemed to consider it. I would really, really love for her to move to the upstate – we could actually have a grandparent close by, which we’ve never had our entire lives. And we would go visit her all the time – put her on the weekly schedule along with Mama and Marlena & Tim. I’m thinking about putting together a promotional packet and sending it to her… I’m ok with making a shameless bid for her moving up here…

Susanna brought Sam over last night to dinner – I was so incredibly bothered by his existence that I could barely look at him. But I overcame it and wrote her a straight-up email today…. I feel like if she’s going to see him, she needs to bring him over to Townville instead of hanging out in his dorm room. But he brought his laundry again, which just plain pisses me off. That is SO tacky.

There was a shooting at VA Tech today – the current death count is 31 people. Apparently the guy shot up a dorm and a classroom – so sad. It’s one of those weird things though – that I know it’s sad, and I know I should be sad, but I don’t really feel much when I read the stories and look at the pictures. I tell you, this thing with Mama has really hardened me – it’s changed me in some intrinsic, permanent way.

Bobby and I had a “submit button” ceremony last Thursday night… we clicked the submit button on another huge pymt to the LL Bean card. I’m going to be so glad when that sucker is paid off.

I’ve been thinking about the whole having a baby in the apt thing – and it’s really not that bad. It would have seemed like the most horrible thing in the world this time last year, but now I realize how much money Bobby and I can quickly accumulate with such a low rent payment, and I’m really kinda getting into it. Like Maggie Lawrence – she’s not going to care that she was born in an apt. All she’s going to care about is her mama and daddy, and food, and a clean diaper, and hopefully her Grandmama and Aunt Sarah and Uncle Bobby. Mama told Jennifer last night that she was almost 5 years old before G-ma and G-pa B moved out of an apt into a house. It just really puts into perspective when you realize what a difference it makes not having a huge mortgage payment.

And speaking of huge mortgage payments, I’m really, really hoping that Tom’s house sells soon because it’s running them dry. That’s hundreds of dollars a month that could be going toward the Maggie Lawrence fund. But his former roommate Brett (who thinks he knows everything) doesn’t even have it listed in the Sunday HOMES guide. Why, I ask… Why?

Oh, and we got the Shabby Shack for the week of July 22-28… Daddy’s not excited because he wants to go to Church Street Inn (don’t know why, he just does) and Mama’s not excited because she wanted to go on a fabulous cruise (which would have unfortunately required a fabulous credit card), and Jennifer’s not excited because she’ll be 8 months pregnant and miserable. But I’m happy and Tom’s happy and Susanna’s happy (this week). The jury’s still out on how Bobby feels – I’m pretty sure he’s not thrilled about spending an entire week with my family. So I guess that’s 4 unhappy to 3 happy – sounds about right. Let the family vacation begin.