Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Saga Continues

All summer long I have been reporting on the work that has been done on the street in front of our house. It isn't done, yet. And we really have no idea WHEN it will be--could be this week, could be November. I thought I would take one post and write down all of the work that has been done up to now.

The first thing that happened was that the road was dug up so that water and sewage lines could be replaced. Of course, after this was done, we had areas of the street that were 1-3 inches lower (or more) than the rest of the road--it made for an interesting ride. When the pipes were done, the crew came in and added fill dirt and compacted everything so that it was a uniform 1 1/2 inches lower than the rest of the pavement. The city engineer--or whoever the yahoo is--inspected and told the construction company that they made a mistake. So, the company came back, dug out all of the compacted dirt, put in more fill, and compacted it all so that it was 3 inches lower than the pavement, like the engineer told them to. Some time later, a crew came down and patched the 3 inch areas and made them a uniform 1 1/2 inches deep. After this was done--a couple of weeks later, or so--a machine came down and 'munched' the surface of the street. This destroyed most, if not all, of the patches that were done previously. As a matter of fact, the 'muncher' chewed down to dirt in some places. Today, a crew came down and re-patched the places that had been brought down to dirt the last time. As everything seems to be quite uniform on the surface, I'm assuming the next step will be to come down and do the final paving. But, you never know, they may just come back and dig more holes.

I told K that the reason all of this is going on is that the city is trying to stimulate the economy by giving these people jobs. I don't think he was impressed with my thoughts.

And after all of this, I hope our city officials finally realize why there are so many re-call elections that take place.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

As Endorsed By...

Oprah and Dr. Oz got their panties all in a bunch and have decided to sue some internet companies selling acai products. Acai--for those who don't know--is one of the newest 'superfoods.' It is a fruit that grows in the Brazilian rain forest and it is supposed to 'cure what ails ya.' Maybe, maybe not--who is to say. Anyway, Oprah and Oz have sung the praises of the berry and sites selling the products on the web have exploded--and Oprah and Oz are pissed. They claim the sites have been using them as endorsing their particular products and they say they haven't done so.

What exactly is considered an endorsement? The different sites I have looked at say something along the lines of "As seen on Oprah" or "Dr. Oz's superfood" or "Dr. Oz said on such and such show." Nowhere have I seen it said that Oprah or Oz are a fan of XXX product or YYY product. Of course, I don't have the time or money to find every site on the net that sells this product, so there MAY BE some sites that are blatantly lying. All I'm pretty sure of is this: what Oprah wants, Oprah gets. I'm sure she will win--and probably add money to her millions.

And as a bit of an aside: I know a lot of people flock to anything Oprah recommends/endorses. As far as I'm concerned, if I see her name on something, I RUN AWAY as fast, and as far, as possible.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

That Was Fun

Several years ago, shortly after the university began fall classes, I was making dinner when the phone rang.

Me: Hello.

Caller: Hi. Is Mary there?

Me: I'm sorry, there is no one here by that name. You must have the wrong number.

Caller: (pause) (sigh) Oh. (pause)

Caller (in a much happier voice): What are YOU doing tonight?

Me: Um...making dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, and getting my daughters off to bed.

Caller (very sadly): Oh. Good by.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bear Report

As I wrote a few weeks ago, we have had black bear sightings in our town/neighborhood. This happens at least once a summer, but is a more regular occurrence in other non-city areas of the UP. Living with black bears is just a way of life here and most of us have seen one in the wild at least one time in our lives. Our local TV station has reports every year, as does the local 'wildlife' show that is broadcast weekly. So, just from our little TV station, there is probably hours worth of footage of black bears. When you throw National Geographic, as well as other movie, TV, and cable sources, I am sure there is more footage than can be looked at in a lifetime. Why the news team from this station just didn't use stock footage in this report, is beyond understanding:

I'm really trying to figure out whether or not this was done as a joke, or if the reporter was serious. Unbelievable!


If you aren't reading Awkward Family Photos, then you are missing out on gems such as this. (And, yes, it is NOT safe for work--or any other time/place, for that matter. ;))

An Actual Conversation

This occurred the other day:

Me (to K): I'm going to the bathroom.*

K: Have a good time. Write if you stay long.

Me: If I can find something to write on, I will. Don't know how it will be delivered 'cause the cat has gone back to bed.

K: Oh, she'll be down to deliver it. It would be a special delivery.

Me: Well, if you're sure. I would hate to not have a way to get it to you!

We have SO much fun here! ;)

*There are three reasons why I announce my intended bathroom visits:

1) We have only the one bathroom**, so I want to let him know it will be occupied.

b) So he will know where I am in case I'm needed.

III) So he will answer the phone if it rings. Otherwise, the call would go unanswered because he won't get it. As he says, "It isn't for ME!!"

**We have a half bath in the dungeon--otherwise known as the basement--but I won't use it unless it is a life-or-death situation.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who Did HE Piss Off?

This hasn't been the best couple of days for K.

After ten days of not working--long weekend with a few vacation days thrown in--K went on night shift on Thursday. Friday morning, he came home at 6:30 AM, as usual. Thirty minutes after he went into bed, the street construction crew came down our street--after WEEKS of doing NOTHING on the road--and began to 'chew up' the pavement in front of our house in preparation for paving. Needless to say, he didn't get much sleep that day.

On Saturday morning, K came through the back door, limping. He was in the midst of another gout attack and had to go to the ER for more prednisone. Looks like this might be something that will be bothering him for the rest of his life. What a wonderful thought.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Checking In

This afternoon, a few feet from my back door, I watched a hawk de-feather the bird it had just killed. Now tell me that YOUR life is more exciting than mine!! ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It Was Time

Over the last little while, I have been worrying more and more about the health care bill that our officials are trying to shove down our throats--and I decided that I needed to say something. So, I composed a letter/email to send to my congressman and senators. Early on Monday, I sent this:

To begin, I am not writing because I believe what one political party tells me more than another. I am not writing because some group has told me what to say. I am not a part of some big conspiracy to make your life miserable. I am an intelligent woman who has done research and reading about the health care bill. Frankly, I am scared to death that this might be passed. There are many concerns about this bill that I have, but will not repeat the ones that have been reported widely. I will zero in on one very selfish concern that I have. Hopefully, this will give you one more viewpoint to consider when you have to vote.

I have battled psoriasis for the past 35 years. This disease has not been life threatening in any way, but it has impacted my life in very negative ways. Because of this disease, I have found myself becoming more of a recluse and dreading having to leave my house, as I worry so much about what clothing to wear in order to cover my psoriasis 'spots.' The hiding of my condition and the work to try to control this disease is a big part of my life and takes quite a bit of my time. Actually, I should say it DID take up a lot of my time, because my psoriasis is under control and I'm almost 'spot' free for the first time in many, many years. And this is where my concern about the health care bill comes in.

A little over three months ago, I began using the drug Enbrel for my psoriasis. Enbrel works on auto-immune diseases such as psoriasis and works very well. This drug is also very, very expensive. For a year's supply of Enbrel, the cost is about $20,000. I don't pay this amount, as we have prescription insurance, but if there is national health care, I don't see how this medication would be approved for me to use. Now, how do I figure this? Easy. Paying $20,000 for me to have clear skin so that I can feel better about myself, seems to be a very frivolous expense. If the decision had to be made between spending that amount of money for my medication or the same amount for a child's asthma medication, who would 'win?' If I had to decide, of course the child's medication would be paid for over mine. A child would 'win' every time. But, selfish as it is, I don't want to give up how well I am feeling with this medication. Right now, we pay for our health care/prescription insurance and want to continue doing so in order to enjoy the benefits we receive.

PLEASE don't tell me not to worry, that everything will stay the same for us. Unless you, the President, and every public official can give me a written guarantee that my health insurance won't change if the health bill is passed, I WILL worry. While there needs to be some reform in the medical costs in this country, I feel as if the operative word is REFORM. I don't believe we should throw away what we have and start an entirely new and unproven program when all that is needed is some fixing of what is already in place. I ask you, please, to not support this bill and vote no. We, the voters, do not want this.


As of this post, I have only had a 'thank you for contacting me' form reply from my congressman, but that is alright with me. All three of the ones I wrote to are Democrats and the two senators--Stabenow and Levin--are left of Barack in terms of how liberal they are. I don't think if either of them told me my name is cmk that I would believe/agree/trust them. As for the congressman, he was siding with the 'blue dog dems' in terms of the health care bill, but doesn't seem to be as opposed lately. The only thing he and I have in common is an opposition to abortion--other than that, he is a dem through and through. I don't want a response from any of them if it is in any way comparable to the one I received the last time I emailed the senators. The tone of the response--at least the way I read it--was the same as a parent explaining the error of a three-year-old's thinking. I found it extremely condescending and don't need to be treated that way. So, it is better to not hear a thing.

Will my email do anything? No. Do I feel better for having sent it? Yes. And I think I will continue to let my voice be heard--often.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Wow, I haven't done a post since Sunday! But, I have reasons.

First, The Oldest and her husband and six kids were over for the day on Monday. While her kids could really never be thought of as bad kids, there ARE six of them. And in a house that seems small (at times) for only two people, having an extra eight is quite overwhelming. I LOVE seeing them, but I don't cry when they leave, either. ;)

K woke up on Monday with a very sore toe/foot. He said he couldn't remember hurting it, so he did nothing. All day long, the pain gradually got worse and I thought he would go to see the doctor on Tuesday, as most normal (read that as female) people would. Of course, he didn't go to the doctor's, even though he could barely hobble from one room to the next. As a matter of fact, he couldn't move without holding on to something and then all he could really do was shuffle along. After he went to bed, I mentally made a vow that he was going to get looked at on Wednesday, even if I had to hog-tie him and drag him there myself. But I didn't have to make good on that promise.

Around 2:30 on Wednesday morning, he came into the kitchen. From the look on his face, I knew there was no way I would have to convince him to go to the ER. All I had to do was tell him to get ready and we were out of here. I KNEW he had to be in a lot of pain, as he didn't fight me over it at all. And the pain was so bad that he couldn't even put a shoe on his foot, much less walk very far, normally, or quickly.

The doctor came in less than a half hour after we got to the ER--and by the look on his face, I knew that HE knew what was wrong before even examining K. Turns out, K was/is suffering from gout. YIPPEE!!!!!!!! Just ANOTHER thing we have to worry about. See, gout is caused by an over abundance of uric acid in the system--something the kidneys filter out and get rid of. K has kidney disease and has lost a lot of the function of his kidneys. So, this probably means another visit to his nephrologist--at least he has to call the office and see what he needs to do next. We will have to figure out what, if anything, he is doing wrong that caused this. His diet may need to be changed, among other things. More happy times.

Anyway, to help 'cure' this attack, K was given HUGE amounts of prednisone at the hospital. And he is taking the same amount for three days at home and gradually going off for the five days following. While prednisone has some nasty side effects--or could--it is probably as close to a miracle drug as you could think of in this case. He had his first dose around 4:00 AM Wednesday. We came home and he went to sleep. By that afternoon, his pain had lessened to what it was on Monday and he was walking very close to normally. On Wednesday, he was able to leave the house and he even went to the grocery store. (HIS decision, NOT mine.) It looks as if he will get through this long before he needs to go back to work. (He is off till next week Thursday--long weekend combined with a couple of vacation days.)

While researching gout--as I do EVERYTHING, thanks to the interwebz--I found out that gout isn't quite as uncommon as I thought. Over 5 million people suffer from it. It is something that can recur and there is no definitive reason for it occurring in the first place. Diet may be a factor, but medications can be, also. Sometimes, the root cause will never be known. And gout IS a form of arthritis--something that was VERY surprising to me.

The bottom line for us, of course, is the probability this has something to do with K's kidney failure/disease. And we thought he was doing so much better after his last nephrologist visit. His numbers (whatever they look for in the blood) had improved a bit--which one doctor said would NEVER happen. Hopefully, this isn't a setback. But, whatever. We will get through this as we have every other curve in the road for the last 36 years.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Is It Because They're So Young?

Two events of the last day make me wonder about the younger generation. And maybe it isn't the generation as much as it is talented youngsters with big egos. Whatever it is, there are a few 20-somethings that I really have little to no respect for--no matter WHAT accomplishments they may have on their resumes.

Very early this morning, I finished reading the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. This is the story of the founding of Facebook and, to tell the truth, I am so disgusted by the whole thing that I have to think whether or not I want to continue using Facebook. I didn't find a sympathetic character in the entire book and I find the developer/co-founder/whatever he is a real sleazeball. Zuckerberg--the co-founder--seems to be as big an asshole as Steve Jobs is. Of course, the people who were screwed over by Zuckerberg are only a half step less sleazy than he is, but less sleazy they are. And Sean Parker--a co-founder of Napster--is just scary. I cannot believe ANYONE would want their company associated with this guy in any way, shape, or form. After reading about these people, I just wanted to take a long, hot shower. And I definitely would never want to meet any of them in person.

So, I'm just surfing around the web this afternoon when I find the STORY of the day--and it, too, makes me wonder what the hell is going on. Patrick Kane is a star with the Chicago Blackhawks. He is making money hand over fist--and stands to make even MORE when he signs his contract next year. (He probably will get anywhere from $6-8 mil per year, or more. And this doesn't include any endorsements.) He is 20 years old. He was arrested this morning.

Some time around 5 AM, Kane and his 21 year old cousin were picked up by a cab in the nightclub district of Buffalo, NY. When the cabbie charged them $13.80, the kids gave him $15. The cabbie gave $1 back in change and said he didn't have the coins to give back $.20. The kids got mad, one of them grabbed the cabbie by the throat, one punched the 62 year old man in the face and broke his glasses, and then they took the $15 from the guy. The cops were called, the cabbie pressed charges, and the kids were arrested. And that is pretty much where the story stands at this time. Now the waiting period begins to see if anything more comes of this.

Now back to my original question. Are these kids--and to me they definitely ARE kids, as they are young enough to be my children and most of them are even younger than my youngest--just being kids? Or are they so filled with their own egos that they believe they can get away with whatever they want? Do they feel as if the world owes them? Have they had it so easy that they don't think they have to behave with any amount of manners?

The people in the book are, basically, computer geeks. They seem to not have many of the social graces and live in their own geeky worlds. They also are geniuses, or very close. But, does this mean they can't treat people with any decency? Does this give them license to do what they want and hurt others because they 'don't know any better?' Just because someone is 'brilliant' doesn't mean he/she should get a pass when it comes to being a decent individual. But, in many circles, I guess genius lets a person get away with anything.

Then, we have the athlete. For the most part, the Red Wings (and probably other teams, as well, but I know about the Wings) let their players develop and mature before they are brought to 'the big club' and payed hundreds, or millions, of dollars. Many teams, however, have 18, 19, 20 year old kids signing big-money contracts and praising them to high levels. These kids don't have the maturity to handle the pressure, the fame, or the money that they have. Many of them believe the hype surrounding them--mainly because they were big fish in little ponds from the time they were toddlers and have been told from the time they could walk how great they are. And they were handed everything as soon as it was seen that they had any amount of talent whatsoever. So, they have egos that just won't quit.

I know that I have no idea how much of anything I read regarding either of these stories is true or false. I really can't judge any of these people. I want to believe that the next generation isn't going to hell in a hand basket, but after reading too many stories like these, I don't know if I CAN trust.

Let's get Ready To Ramble

When I was a child--don't know if it is still the case--our local newspaper would publish the outer page on green paper. They called it 'The Green Sheet.' I don't remember what the content was on the green sheet.


How sad and disturbing is the news about the Billy Mays' autopsy? While the coroner still says he died of heart failure, it is now thought that the heart problems came from cocaine use. The tox report showed he had used cocaine. He reportedly also took several pain killers--including oxycodone--because of hip problems. You NEVER know what is going on behind closed doors, do you?


One of the neighbors talked to a guy who works for the company that will pave our road and he said they (the workers) have NO idea when the job will be done. I guess it will be done before the end of October, because the snow will start falling by then and it is extremely difficult to pave during a snow storm.


I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that The Youngest had a sick cat. It had to be put down. The ultrasound was inconclusive, but his kidneys failed and there was nothing more to be done for him. It is sad to think I will never see Sam again. He was a very sweet cat.


On 5 August I celebrated ten years of being a non-smoker. Once again I gave myself an anniversary gift and went and bought the phone I've been wanting.

The Nokia E71x is about the neatest thing and I am having SO MUCH FUN with it. I don't even think I know half of what this thing can do and I've been playing with it for days. I didn't find the price to be all that bad, but my monthly plan increased by $15. I still haven't told K. I'm hoping he doesn't notice. ;)

Some Fun

While I was surfing around earlier today, I came across this site: 150 things to do when you're bored. This would be a good resource for anyone with kids, but there are a lot of things that adults would find very good, too. A few I thought were very good ideas:

7. List 20 things you like about someone. Now give the list to that person and make their day.

8. Host a movie marathon — but choose the DVDs with your eyes closed. Don't forget popcorn!

37. Send a thank you note to someone who did something nice for you.

95. Count how many licks it takes you to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

110. Compose a letter to future inhabitants of your house so they'll know what you and your family were like when you lived there.

119. Gather some stones and construct an inukshuk.

These are just a few of the fun ideas to try.


Were you aware that we don't peel bananas correctly? Well, here is a video that shows the proper way:

I haven't tried this yet, but plan on it!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009


I want to be a feisty little old lady when I grow up. Just like THIS lady from Not Always Right:

(I’m checking out my last customer, a little old lady, before covering a break when another customer starts unloading his stuff into the register. Note that I’ve shut off my light and put a “lane closed” sign up.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, my lane is closed. I have to go to another department and cover a break.”

Other customer: “Well, isn’t that just f***ing convenient for you!”

(Right on cue, the little old lady I was helping turns to the other customer.)

Little old lady: “Who the h*** peed in your cornflakes this morning?!”

Other customer: *storms off*

(I hugged the lady and she is now a regular of mine.)

I think "Who the hell peed in your cornflakes this morning?" is my newest favorite thing to say! :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Lost Day

I feel as if I completely lost yesterday. The Oldest came to town for the day and it threw my 'schedule' off so much that I will still be trying to recover for a couple of days. I don't handle change well. ;)

After VERY little sleep, C showed up at our house around 7:30 AM. We visited for a while, I got ready, and we were off and running before 9. The time flew as we made our way around two different stores and came back to the house. We barely had time to inhale a small lunch and were back on the road around 11. I had made a hair appointment for her, so we had to be at the salon for 11:30. Her hair hadn't been cut for many years, so it was EXTREMELY long--long enough, in fact, that she was able to donate 9 inches to the 'Locks of Love' program. She STILL had long enough hair to go a couple of inches past her shoulders! But she really looked nice with the extra length cut off. After the visit to the salon, we made our way to Michael's--her main reason for wanting to go out to shop--and the local mall. We finally got back to the house just before 3. To say I was a little on the tired side, is putting it mildly.

C and her husband headed for home around 5, K went to work, and I was left alone. I managed to do a little around the house before collapsing. I slept for a couple of hours and thought I would have enough energy to do what was needed, but it was not to be so. I ate a late dinner, read the newspaper, and fell asleep until 5 this morning. And THAT is the reason I'm actually on the computer so early in the day.

I think I'm going to get ready and go out AGAIN and do some of the things I didn't have time for yesterday. Today is the tenth anniversary of my quitting smoking, so I think I will be going out to get my anniversary gift: a new smart phone. I can't wait! I'll keep everyone informed. ;)

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Followup

I wanted to say that I have no intentions of turning this into a political blog, despite my last post. The post came out of a sense of frustration that I am feeling. Lately I have been reading about the proposed universal health care that the POTUS wants implemented and I have to say I AM SCARED TO DEATH! Without going into everything that scares me, I will focus on one very selfish reason why I don't want universal health care.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have psoriasis. I finally have found a medication (Enbrel) that is helping to clear my skin. The cost of Enbrel for a year is $20,000. Now think about it, will I be able to get this medication under universal health care? And if I COULD get it, would I get it for the $120/year that I am paying right now? (And be truthful--would YOU be happy paying for this medication for me with your tax dollars?) This medication is CLEARING MY SKIN. My skin looks pretty much like most people's does now and that is basically what this very expensive drug is doing for me. (With on-going research, it may be shown that psoriasis IS a life-threatening disease, but right now it isn't considered as such for most people.) Does anyone think that I will be given this medication, for free, just because I want to be able to wear short-sleeved shirts in the summertime? So, let's weigh this: Me--$20,000 for clear skin vs 8-year-old child--$20,000 for asthma medication. Who is more deserving? And who would deny the child the medication just so another could feel better about him/herself? OF COURSE I would give up the medication so a child could be well!

Until someone can GUARANTEE that I will be able to see my own physician whenever I want and that I will have access to EVERY medication available and that I wouldn't have to have my tax dollars pay for procedures that I DON'T AGREE WITH (abortion), I want the government to stay the hell out of my health care!

Just WHEN Are The Libs Going To Get It?

For eight years, George Bush was lambasted by the liberals in this country. The most disgusting and obscene jokes were made--one by Whoopie Goldberg, if I recall--and then any of Bush's supporters were told to 'get over it' if they protested. Every form was used to belittle Bush in every way possible--but the libs continuously berated any conservatives for not having a thick enough hide. They threw 'free speech' into our faces and said they had every RIGHT to make whatever comments they wanted. Well, someone FINALLY dared to make a comment about Barack that is far from supportive.

These posters have been found all around L.A. and more people are planning on using them in their own protests. This has become viral on the web. T-shirts, bumper stickers, etc, are being sold.

And guess what??? The liberal democrats are SCREAMING over the RACISM this portrays and how TERRIBLE it is that anyone would think this is free speech at all! GET OVER YOURSELVES!!! The writing is on the wall, people are waking up, and the king/god is about to be defeated. Suck on that one for a while.

A Lot Of Nothing Much

On 29 May 2004, I began this blog. This is now my 1500 post. I thought long and hard--okay, it was only about five minutes--as to what I should write and I decided on only a slight recap of these five+ years.

During these five years, I haven't done anything earth shattering. I haven't been a hero, I haven't helped save anyone's life, I haven't become famous. I have, however, become a grandmother three more times and a mother-in-law again. I have renewed my love for hockey and seen it become an obsession. I have become closer to my girls than I ever would have thought possible ten years ago. And I have distanced myself from The Family and found it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I have lived my life without any fanfare whatsoever.

I have realized that I am just a small cog in a very big world and I will never influence anyone or anything outside of my very little circle. I will not be remembered by the world when I am no longer here. And I am very comfortable with that. My fate was never to be famous or rich--just to live a good life and be a decent person. I hope I have accomplished this and have shown as much through this blog.

I have 'met' some wonderful people these many years. I don't believe I have any of my original readers, but I DO have regulars who have been around for quite a while. I appreciate every person who has visited this little part of my world and, possibly, has enjoyed the visit. I love all of you and hope I will meet more as I continue this journey through my unexciting life. Thank you one and all.

And I hope I will add another 1500 posts--or more--in the coming years. :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009


I talked to The Youngest today. John was a guy who graduated a year ahead of her. John had a sex change operation and is now Sue. Sue is 'married' to Debbie. This came as quite a shock for The Youngest.

This thing leaves me with a few questions. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I understand someone wanting to change their gender, but whatever. The biggest question I have is this: If you change from one gender because you feel as if you are the other gender, why would you go through with the operation and be a homosexual after wards? From what I understand, a person has to go through intensive psychological testing and therapy before a doctor agrees to the operation. Now, if a person feels as if he/she is supposed to be the opposite sex and identifies with the opposite sex, doesn't it stand to reason that the person is attracted sexually to persons of the sex he/she was born as? I mean, to BE a male means being attracted to women and to BE a female means being attracted to men, right? So, to be a male wanting to change to female would mean the person ALWAYS is attracted to males. Before the operation the person would be gay, but would be 'normal' after. If this isn't the case with a person seeking a change, then why would a doctor accept the person's saying he/she has always felt wrong in his/her body and KNOWS he/she is supposed to be the opposite sex? What am I missing here? This REALLY confuses me.

Okay, so maybe John and Debbie were married before he had the operation. But now he is a woman--legally and in every other respect. It is not legal for two women to be married, so how can they still be legally together? Was their marriage automatically annulled as a result of the operation? Way, way, way too many questions. Maybe I should just quit thinking about it--it makes things that much easier.