Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ian and email

Ian has reached a new milestone.  He now has an email address all his own.  He had been asking for one for a few months and after weighing the pros and cons, we decided it was ok to let him have it.  A few boys in his class have an email account and that is where he got the idea.

Jeff and I each had written Ian an email.  Mine was submitted literally moments after he walked away from me and the computer with his email/password written down for him to begin using.  I wrote:  "Ian, I wanted to be your very first email.  I love you!  Love, Mom."  Jeff wrote his email the next morning from work.  

Later that day, after dinner, Jeff asks Ian if he got any emails today.  Remember, he knew that both of us had sent him one.  Ian says he only checks email once in the evening.  About 30 minutes later, I get a reply from Ian.  "Sorry Mom. Dad beat you to it.  Ian"  Ian didn't realize that the first email would be on the bottom, not the top one.  I told Ian next time he needs to look at the date/time stamp.  

The first day after his email was set-up, Ian comes home from school with a post-it note.  Two of his friends in his class wrote their email addresses down.  Ian turns on his computer and starts composing an email to his friend.  A minute later, Ian calls for me to help him. He can't find the "Send" button. 

I see what Ian has written:


How was school today?


Me:  Um Ian, Michael is still in the same classroom as you, right?
Ian:  Yes.
Me:  And Ian, Michael still sits right next to you, right?
Ian:  Yes.
Me:  And you were both in school today, right?
Ian:  Yes.
Me:  Ok Ian.  Here is where you can find the "Send" button.

Oh my gosh, how cute is this!?!?  

Monday, April 28, 2014

National Building Museum, Kindergarten style

It finally happened!  After 4 years of trying, I got picked to chaperone a field trip.  It turns out it is not the experience it is cracked up to be.  I now consider myself lucky that I haven't gone on a field trip before now. 

My kids' classes always have a huge turn-out of moms/dads who want to volunteer.  You have to hope that your name gets picked out of a hat for one of the few coveted chaperone spots.  Samantha was so excited when she heard I got picked.  It made me excited.  This past Thursday we went to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Here is my list of issues I had with the field trip:

1. Sitting on a school bus seat with two little girls.  The bench is made for two bodies, not three.  We were cozy, very cozy.

2. Two rows up in front of us, one of Sam's classmates threw up 4 times.  Yes, 4 times.  And the first time it went on his pants and the bus floor, which started moving back towards us.  Fun.

3. Leaving at 9:30am meant we were sitting in traffic to get into D.C.  I love sitting on a school bus lurching forward at 5 mph.  Please, can we do this everyday?

4. I was given 4 kids to be in charge of; Sam, one of her friends, and two boys.  I had the boys sit on the row opposite me.  The one boy refused to sit in his seat.  Ever.  All I could think of was the bus would get into an accident and this kid would have a head start to getting something major broken.  Not on my watch! 

5. Once we were off the bus and in the museum, the three kids not related to me started moving around.  It was so much fun keeping track of them among all the other kids on loose for the field trip.  I kept having us all hold hands.  I am sure they loved that, but I didn't care.  I wasn't going to lose a kid.

And the one reason that made this all worth it:

1. Seeing how happy Sam was that I was there with her.

Sam and her friend on the bus

Ian had a field trip the very next day.  Could you imagine if I had gotten picked for that one and had to go to two field trips on back to back days?  Oh my!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Down for the count, Part 3

I wrote my post "Down for the count, Part 2" too soon!  I indicated that Jeff escaped the bug.  It had been more than 72 hours since I had gotten sick.  I was certain we were in the clear.  Unfortunately that wasn't the case.  Say it isn't so, but Jeff got hit too!  Fortunately it wasn't nearly as bad as the rest of the family.  But for a few hours Jeff did have a fever and was running back and forth to the bathroom.  It seemed that as this bug went through all of us, its effects lessened in each of us.

On Thursday, Jeff came home from work not feeling well.  Went to bed early and by the time morning came, he was back to being upright and at work -- even on time.  Whew!  I am happy that he recovered so fast.

Now I can officially say we are done with this illness.  Buh-bye!  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Down for the count, Part 2

So my story does not end with the kids getting sick the last day of Spring Break.  Nooooooooo.  Unfortunately, this vomiting / fever combo took another victim.  Me!  48 hours after the kids had it, it found a new body to inhabit.  How fun. 

The family and I had a wonderful day on Sunday at Gravelly Point.  We had a lovely picnic, brought the kids' scooters and some balls to throw around.  It was a delightful afternoon and one of my favorite places to hang out with the family that is low key and easy. 

My usual self-timer picture at Gravelly Point

I had already asked my boss for the next day (Monday) off from my job at the preschool.  Ian had an eye appointment with an Opthamologist at 10:30am.  He had recently tanked his eye exam at his yearly pediatrician check-up and I was pretty sure Ian was going to need glasses.  It comes as no surprise as both Jeff and I are pretty close to blind without some kind of corrective lenses.

I made dinner and sat down with the family.  Took one bite and I was done.  Got up from the table and crawled into bed.  By 7:00pm, I was revisiting my awesome salad from lunch.  It didn't look so pretty now.  At midnight, round 2 hit me again.  Ugh.  It was a horrible night and I couldn't get comfortable.   When Jeff saw the way I was after dinner, he immediately sent an email to his coworkers alerting them to the fact he'd be working from home and juggling the kids.  He knew I was in no shape to do anything but lie in bed and go back and forth to the bathroom.  In my 9 years of being a mom, I've only ever asked him to stay home from work once.  And that turned out to be an emergency appendectomy.  This was my 2nd time.  Not a bad track record, if I do say so myself.

Jeff got Sam off to school. It didn't make sense to send Ian to school because his appointment was smack dab in the middle of the half day Monday.  Jeff instructed Ian to do some work for religious school and he put in a few hours before it was time to go to the eye dr.  It was killing me to let Jeff take Ian to this appointment on his own.  I couldn't do it.  I knew they were both capable, but to not be there for Ian's first eye dr appointment was huge.  I had this vision that Ian would walk through the door wearing some 80's style frames that we'd be stuck looking at for a year.  I had to go.  I needed to hear first hand what the diagnosis was and how bad Ian's eyesight really was.

I took a shower, brushed my teeth and ate a banana.  It's amazing what those 3 little things can do for a person.  I no longer had a fever and I hadn't thrown up in over 10 hours.  I made my way downstairs and said I was going.  Jeff made me promise to not throw up in his car.  I felt pretty certain the worst was over and I was starting to get better.  However, I did keep an eye out for the closest trash can and or bathroom in every room I walked in.  You just never know. 

Ian was a rockstar during his eye exam.  As Jeff and I were watching Ian get a few of the letters wrong, I so badly wanted to whisper the right answers to him.  I knew then that it might've been better if I did stay at home.  :)  It turns out that Ian does not need glasses.  Not yet anyway.  He will most definitely at some point in the next few years.  But for at least the next 6 months he is good to go.  We were given a home vision test to give Ian every 6 months.  If his vision gets worse before his next check-up in a 1 1/2 years, then we bring him back in.  But for now, his vision isn't that bad. 

Ian sitting in the chair at the eye doctor.

Walking out of the appointment wearing the shades
because his eyes are dialated.
Once I got back home, I took a very long nap.  By the time I woke up, it was like a fog had lifted from my head.  I felt so much better and was getting my energy back and my appetite.  Why can't the lack of appetite thing last longer than 12 hours?  I need that part of the illness to linger for at least 6 months.

And in the best news yet, we seem to have rid the house of the vomiting / fever combo illness.  It's been more than 48 hours since I got sick and Jeff is still standing strong.  It's a good thing too.  This bug is not fun.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Down for the count

The last day of Spring Break was to be spent going to my dentist appointment, hitting Georgetown Cupcakes and meeting Jeff for lunch near his office.  Our day was going to end at a friend's house for dinner; which we were all really looking forward to.  However, the kids had other plans.  Getting sick wasn't part of the Spring Break plan, but it took a very prominent place on our calendar.

My kids rarely (and I mean RARELY!!) get sick. I can't even remember the last time they had a cold, or a cough, or a fever.  I attribute their amazing immune systems to my lack of being a germaphobe.  I do not freak out about dirt or making sure the kids have used hand sanitizer every hour of the day.  I guess they were overdue in the getting sick department, because both kids got hit hard as our week was winding down.

Ian threw up at 1:00am, 3:15am, and 4:30am as Thursday became Friday.  Yowzer!  I felt so bad for him.  It was not a fun night nor an easy one to get through.  Sam managed to sleep through the night (and all the activity right outside her room), but when she woke up on Friday morning, she promptly made up for lost time and threw up EVERYWHERE!  In fact, she took one look at the couch, Pinky, the bathroom, and pillow and said, "Wow, I really made a mess."  Why yes, yes you did. 

At this point, Ian took a dose of Advil for his fever and went to sleep.  I cleaned Sam's trail of vomit and got the first of many loads of wash started.  Sam took some Advil for her fever and finally went to sleep too about an hour later. 

With both kids napping at the same time, I kept the washer and dryer going non-stop and kept up with the laundry.  I also made a very time intensive dish for dinner that I said I would bring over anyway when I knew we wouldn't make dinner at our friend's.

Once the kids woke-up, they were both pretty listless and didn't cause much trouble.  It was a long day trying to get them to stay hydrated, offer very bland foods and convince them that at some point they will feel better soon.  Neither child is used to being sick and not having the energy they usually have was a very foreign concept to them.  They both refused to eat anything.  They would take a bite of bread and push the rest away.  I didn't force them, more because I didn't want to be cleaning it up again an hour later.  I monitored the kids to make sure they were peeing enough (an indication that they were hydrated) and kept a log of when I gave medicine, how much and to whom.  I wrote what time they fell asleep, who woke up when and what their temperature was every 2 hours.  I also wrote down if either of them threw up again.  This log alone was a full-time job!

By the time Jeff walked in the door at 5:45pm, I was very happy for another adult (and a healthy one at that) to interact with.  It was time for him to take over.  The kids went to sleep early and we could only hope they would both sleep through the night. 

When Saturday morning arrived, everyone was awake, well-rested and fever free!!  Yay!  And in even better news, the vomiting had stopped.  Whew!!  Within one hour of waking, both kids went back to sleep.  So crazy!!  I don't think my kids have ever done that before.  Sam slept for 2 hours, Ian slept for 3 hours.  The rest of the day was spent indoors taking it easy with no fevers and no throwing up.  Three cheers for a fast moving bug!!!

Sam was going stir crazy from being cooped up for almost 2 full days.  Jeff took her grocery shopping at Wegman's in the late afternoon. 

I was very surprised at how fast the week had been flying by.  I even joked to a mommy friend that all my hair was still in my head -- I hadn't pulled it out yet!   But when you throw Friday into the week, I was very ready for school to start again.  We ended Spring Break with a bang. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Team Toppall takes a tour

Spring Break 2014 found us staying local.  So local in fact, that 3 of the 5 days the kids had playdates at our house, from either 9:00am - 2:00pm or 10:00am - 3:00pm.  Now, that's a playdate!  We did go to Baltimore on Monday evening for the first night of Passover, which by the way, was super yummy!  I love celebrating Passover with Jeff's family.  The Haggadah we follow is highly entertaining and keeps even the shortest attention spans engaged until the end -- mine! 

We stayed overnight at my in-laws house and planned a day trip for Tuesday.  For one full day during Spring Break, we made it out of our zip code (and my in-laws) and drove to Pennsylvania.  As an added bonus, we got to take Matthew (Jeff's sister's son) with us.  It was his Spring Break too and he had the day off.

Our plan had us touring the Snyder's of Hanover Factory, the Utz Potato Chip Factory and finish the day at Hershey's Chocolate World.  Could this day be any Crunchier?  Saltier?  Sweeter? Yummier?   I don't think so. 

Tuesday it rained, poured for a good part of the day, and even snowed on the drive home.  It was a perfect day to be driving around, staying dry and making a run for it from car to tour.  I had originally planned a much more ambitious itinerary, hitting two additional snack food factories to tour, but Jeff (ever the voice of reason) didn't think it was a good use of our time to make the kids sit in the car for as long as it would've taken to get to these additional places.  I'll go ahead and put it down in writing, given the non-stop rain, it was best that we didn't add on the additional 2 hours of driving.  Again, Jeff was right!

Unfortunately both factory tours do not allow you take photos.  And to make it even more challenging, Matthew doesn't like getting his picture taken.  Oy!  So in most of the photos I was able to take, he isn't smiling.  But I think he had a good time hanging with us anyway, despite me having a camera in his face as much as I was able to.

Snyder's of Hanover:
Great tour!  They give you a guide who tells you all sorts of really cool facts as you are walking through the factory.  We saw the pretzels go through the ovens, watched the pretzels travel on the conveyor belts, get weighed and fill the bags. It was really fascinating and mind-blowing how much flour and salt is delivered each month to make their pretzels; like 340,000 tons of a flour a DAY!!  And the ginormous warehouse that stores all the raw materials gets completely turned over every 6 days.   It was awesome getting to see the gluten-free part of the factory where the GF pretzels and tortilla chips are made.  One of my favorite parts of the tour was starting in the factory store.  It was a treasure-trove of GF pretzels for sale (all flavors).  I am pretty sure the price (and selection) was infinitely better than anything I could find at my local Wegman's.  I very much look forward to breaking into my pretzels as soon as Passover is over.

Utz Potato Chip Factory:
This tour is self-guided.  Similar to Snyder's, you get to see the product being made, but you can take as much time as you want walking through the factory.  We saw the potatoes go from the raw form all the way to getting bagged and put in a box to get shipped.  Four different flavored chips were getting made at the same time.  The people who were working were very friendly and would stop and wave to us.  There are buttons you can press along the way that explain what you are seeing and give more details, but we did not listen very well to all the buttons Sam kept pressing.  Being a crazy-big potato chip lover (any kind of potato really), I was fascinated watching a potato go through the process.

Hershey's Chocolate World:
We've been a few times before and always enjoy getting to make our own chocolate bars.  There is only one thing better than making your own chocolate bar and that's eating it.  Matthew hadn't been yet and it was fun showing him one of our favorite activities to do when we are in the area.  A big portion of Chocolate World is under renovation.  It will be interesting to go back and visit once they are done remodeling.

Our day in pictures:

First picture of the day; riding in the car. 
Sam didn't want her picture taken and Matthew not smiling.

Only picture allowed at Snyder's.

Made it to Utz.  Sam is their newest spokesperson

Utz: Before the tour.
Utz:  After the tour.  Notice we are all eating our sample bag of chips.

Hershey:  A very sweet place to visit.  Matthew - still not smiling.


Enjoying a milkshake after making our candy bars.

Even when drinking, the kid still tries to smile for the picture.

I got Matthew to smile!!  Yay!
On the drive home:  I think we were too much fun for Matthew.
My original plan for Spring break had us spending the week somewhere a little more exotic -- like the beach, or NYC, or taking a cruise, going to Maine, or spending a few days in Williamsburg.  I had many ideas ready to put into action once I got the green light from my other half.  However, for one reason or another, doing something much more in depth than a day trip wasn't going to happen.  Despite the pouring rain, it was not a bad way to spend the day.  It was educational, yummy, and entertaining.  I'd say a win-win-win-win on all 4 stops (if you include the stop we made for lunch too).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Got Kids?

One of the best inventions ever is the playdate.  An opportunity to get your kids together with another set of kids for a set amount of time; an hour, an afternoon, an overnight, whatever.  It can be at your house, or it can be at theirs.  Either way, it rocks!

With the kids at an age where you don't have to worry about them getting into something they shouldn't be messing with, and you don't have to change diapers, or bottle feed, or spoon feed, or worry about a nap schedule, playdates are simply wonderful.  Having 2 or 3 more kids over to the house is like having 5 less (my 2, plus the extra friends).  They entertain each other, socialize and you never hear the words, "I'm bored."  They keep each other active and moving.  When friends are over, the time flies by. 

When the playdate is happening at my house, I can take a supervisory role.  I will distribute snacks, keep an eye on them when they are outside and generally make sure they are not attempting anything that will land them an emergency room visit.  For the most part, I am able to relax and love seeing the kids interacting with their friends.  It warms my heart to see these friendships continue over the years. 

It's so nice when you have a few families you click with and the kids ages match up.  I love being able to help out my fellow mommy friends and I love knowing they are also available to help me out.  It takes a village to raise children.  And I love the families that live in my village. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hijacking a 5k

Carpe diem...sometimes you just have to seize the day.  Jump in with both feet and not think twice.  Go for it.  That's what my friend Dawn and I did this past Saturday morning.   It turned out to be one of the most spontaneously fun mornings ever.  Neither of us had any idea what we were in store for when we woke up that morning.

Our plan was to meet at 8:00am at Burke Lake Park and walk around the lake.  It's 4.7 miles once around.  Upon arrival, we find a 5k is about to start not too far from where we have parked our cars.  I tell Dawn we should join them and do the 5k.  Dawn is a little hesitant and needs a bit of convincing.  She is certain that she won't be able to run it.  No worries I tell her.  Look at all the families doing this at the back of pack.  They are walking it, so will we.  It will be great!  Then Dawn tells me, but they are all black.   Hmmm, I didn't realize that part.  You know what?  She's right.  They are all black.  So what, I say.  Come 'on, it will be fun.

Before I know it, Dawn and I are doing a quick jog to join the run.  We find out from the walkers bringing up the rear what the cause is for.  It's for the youth. "To empower young men to recognize they are in control of their destiny in life. Afford young men the opportunity to explore personal career interest; and not subject themselves to stereotypes."   Sounds good to us!  We quickly make friends with the back of pack.  Everyone is super nice.  No one has yet asked us what we are doing there.  Nor have they told us to leave their race.  They offer us water at the water station, they collect our cups from us.  The man in charge is telling us the path to take.  I don't think it is possible for them to be more welcoming. 

While Dawn and I finish last, we also finish strong.  Our new friends cheer us through the finish line.  It was awesome!   Dawn and I head back to our cars and decide to go to Spartans for breakfast.   My car is the first to leave the parking lot area.  I notice the group we were just with is about to take a team shot.  I quickly get out of my car and join in.  Dawn is about 30 seconds behind me in her car.  She jumps out and does the same in joining ua.  The guy in front of us has us go in front of him for the picture because we are on the shorter side.  How sweet!

This was truly a morning to remember.  We had such a great time.  I put a donation in the mail to them with a note thanking the coordinator for letting us join in.  We will be back next year.  And we will register properly for it too.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cooking 101

The first morning I asked Ian what he wanted for breakfast, he said "Bacon, eggs and a banana".  I told him to go ahead and get started. I'd be down in a minute to help him.  Once he fully realized he was going to have to make his own breakfast, with assistance from me, he was not a happy camper.  There was a lot of banging of pans (and eggs!) and stomping about the kitchen.  Ian's level of grumpiness hit the ceiling.  

At one point Ian said he lost his appetite and was no longer hungry.  After 5 minutes he returned to the kitchen and was a bit more open-minded on learning how to cook scrambled eggs and microwave bacon.  Ian, as cranky as ever, finished making his breakfast.  He said the eggs were overcooked.  The bacon tasted horrible.  And his banana broke in half trying to get the peel off. 

One of the first mornings learning to cook scrambled eggs.

The next morning I asked Ian what he wanted for breakfast.  He looked at me and asked if he was going to have to make it himself.  I said yes.  Within 1 minute Ian was upstairs in the kitchen and set to work.  He felt a bit overwhelmed trying to multitask microwaving the bacon and getting the eggs cooked, but he did it.  The first Saturday Jeff was home to witness this, he started taking pictures of him at the stove.  Ian is so focused and can't take his eyes off the pan for a second.  It is very cute.

We are now about 3 weeks past the first few days of Ian cooking his own breakfast.  He has mastered the art of how to get it done.  Within 5 minutes he has a fully cooked breakfast all done by him, from start to finish.  The other morning I wasn't even in the kitchen when he cooked his own breakfast.

The finished product!

This past Friday I asked him how he felt making his own eggs and bacon.  He said it felt pretty good. There is absolutely no attitude and he is taking pride in being able to do it.  I am so proud of him.  He wants to know now how to make other things.  We are going to tackle pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and quesadillas next. 

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day.  Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Miles and miles of fun

Yes, 180,000 miles and my Honda is still going strong.  My friends have long stopped asking when a new car will be happening.  I am not sure I'd even be recognizable without my silver CR-V attached to me on the streets of Burke.

I've slowed down a bit on adding on the mileage. It took nearly a full year to get this last 10,000 miles.   Since we got Jeff's car at the end of May, we primarily use that when the Toppall Team is hitting the road.  Jeff has put over 17,000 miles on his car in the last 10 months.  Yowzer!  Eventually, the goal is to slow down using Jeff's car when I get a new car.  As of now, there are no plans for that to happen.  Maybe in 2 or 3 years?  At this point, what's the rush?  I just put new tires and brakes on my car.  I plan to get my money's worth out of both.  And, I think it would be really cool to see my car turn 200,000.  That's my new goal.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Let there be light!

It's official, I'm a grown-up.  How do I know this?  Because I am ridiculously excited by the recess lighting we had installed in our downstairs family room.  No one other than a grown-up would be this crazy over lighting. 

Originally our small light fixture went kaput and was no longer working.  I told Jeff I was going to call the electrician to fix it.  It was then that Jeff said, "You know what would be nice?  To have recess lighting in here."  Yes!! It would.  I can't believe I didn't think of the idea.  He was right. Very right.

Getting the lighting done has sparked a mini-makeover in the room.  We needed to bring in our neighbor to patch the small holes made by the electrician.  That got me thinking, let's repaint the room. I am now ditching the green color in favor of gray.  The painting happens tomorrow.  And since it is our neighbor doing the work, the painting will continue Wednesday, Thursday, and probably Friday too.  He was the one who built Samantha's closet back in her room.  Originally the job was to be a week.  4 weeks later and I was still waiting for all of the job to be done.  He does great work and is very reasonable.  You just can't have speed be part of that equation too.  If we ever get him to re-do our kitchen, we better be prepared to eat out for 6 months.

I've now become recess lighting obsessed.  Each room I walk into my house, I want to put in recess lighting.  It made such a huge difference in the room it was installed.  I am excited again about my house.  It's pretty cool how something small has made us all so happy. 

And, did I mention I have not one, but two dimmer switches to control the lights?  Yep, I'm a grown-up.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Heard and Observed #46

Sam is in the middle of yelling at Ian.  She is screaming at the top of her lungs and really letting him have it.

Sam:  IAN, I SAID STOP!!!  "S" "P" "O" "T"

Ian and I start giggling. 

Ian:  Actually Sam you spelled Spot, not Stop.

Of course this makes Sam even more upset. 

Sam:  NO!!!  "O" "N"  I SPELLED STOP!!

Now, Ian and I are really laughing.  Sam was trying so hard to get her point across by spelling the words. 


Sam asked for helping making a 3D flower out of paper.  I gave it my best shot to make one, but Sam did not like how mine turned out.  Not one bit.  Jeff then helped her make a flower and she was much happier with how his turned out.  Just before bedtime, Jeff gave Sam a 5 minute warning she was going to bed soon.  I am not sure what she was all jazzed up about, but when I walked in the room, Sam was spiritedly saying to Jeff while waving around the paper flower I made, "...And all I'm left holding is this piece of crap."

Oh my!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Funny Tale From The Crypt

This went down one afternoon while working for The Crazy Man:

Crazy Man:  Please call Sue.  I want to see if she can go to a dance.  Dial her number and I'll pick up.
Me:  Ok

Dialing Sue's phone number.  It rings and rings. Her answering machine answers.  Since The Crazy Man never picked up (which happens from time to time), I start leaving a message.

Me:  Hi Sue. I am calling on behalf of the Crazy Man.  He would like to speak to you when get a chance.  Please give him a call at
Crazy Man (picking up on the other extension): Hello? 
Me:  Yes, Crazy Man, Sue isn't there.  I am leaving her a message right now.
Crazy Man:  When is that dance?
Me:  It's on April 14th. That's a Monday. The dance is located in Falls Church.
Crazy Man:  What?  Falls Church?
Me:  Yes, Falls Church.
Crazy Man:  And did you say it was the 14th?
Me: Yes, April 14th. 
Crazy Man:  What band did I want to see again?
Me:  It's for ----
Crazy Man:  Ok, I will wait for the beep and leave the message.
Me:  The beep happened a long time ago. This conversation is her message.
Crazy Man:  Oh. Ok. When I get off the phone, we need to call Dr. X and tell them about the medication. And we need to write a check to my neighbor for yardwork he did.  Make it for $216.  Write in the memo:  $216 for materials, $4 for labor. 
Me:  That doesn't really add up.  Do you want me to make the check for $220?
Crazy Man:  Yes, that's what I meant.  $220.  And, we need to call Janie and give her my son's new address.
Me:  Ok.
Crazy Man: Why don't you hang up and I will finish leaving a message.
Me:  Ok.
Crazy Man:  Hi, this is The Crazy Man.  Please give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Yeah, I'm sure she's got his number.  The number to looney bin that is.